TWO families have taken legal action against the KZN Department of Health.
This after Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg mistakenly gave the Maharaj family 32-year-old Keketso Mateke’s body.
Thinking it was their father, Chundersen (84), the Maharaj family cremated Keketso’s body, while his family was given Chundersen’s body.
Keketso died in June after he was injured at work, while Chundersen died from Covid-19 complications.
Keketso’s sister, Mary, (43) said they were worried when they heard their brother was cremated.
“We don’t do that in our culture. We are still traumatised,” she said.
“We have been in contact with the Maharaj family and they’ve been supportive. They are also helping with the legal route we’ve taken.”
Chundersen’s son, Ricky (55), confirmed they’ve decided to take the legal route.
“There was no remorse on the department’s behalf towards any of us following what happened,” he said.
TPA Legal stakeholder relations manager, Lisa Sukdev, said attorney Theasen Pillay from TPA Legal would represent both families.She said the Maharaj family was demanding R15 million, while the Mateke family was demanding R10 million from the department.
he said the Maharaj wanted R15 million as they performed two funerals.
“Our client had to undergo the torment and grief of performing a second funeral and cremation service. They were overwhelmed with shock and despair as they performed a cremation and dispensed the ashes of an unknown person,” she said.
Sukdev said the Mateke family didn’t have a body to bury, which was painful for them.
“The department was given a period of 30 days, failing which summons will be issued,” she said.
KZN Health spokesman Ntokozo Maphisa said: “This is a legal matter. As a matter of principle, the department does not comment on matters which are sub-judice. This matter is receiving attention from the department and there have been engagements with the family.”