Anguish over mysterious death

Jenny Govender

Not only is Govender’s family desperate for answers but her body had been lying at the Townhill Hospital mortuary awaiting a post mortem examination for almost a week before she was finally laid to rest yesterday afternoon. A labour dispute with mortuary staff and the department of health resulted in a growing backlog of bodies awaiting autopsies.
“We could not get our sister’s body out of the mortuary since it was ‘tools down’ at the pathology department,” said Govender’s sister, Bunny Govender.
“The stress of not being able to lay my wife to rest sooner has added to our trauma. We are of Muslim faith so we wanted to bury her on the day she passed away,” said Govender’s husband, Denver Reddy.
The family also want answers to the events leading up to the apparent suicide, claiming Govender together with her seven-year-old son, were abducted from their home by three men and two women who had accused her of being a “maintenance swindler”.
“My sister was crying and hysterical when the group of people insisted that she leave with them and discuss the money issue,” said the sister, alleging that Govender was taken to a premises in Mkondeni where she was interrogated with pictures later being posted on social media accusing her of being a fraudster.
“They took my sister out of her house with the small child to Mkondeni and took pictures to put on social media. It went viral that she’s a fraudster,” said the sister, explaining that this could have been one of the reasons for Govender killing herself.
Reddy told Public Eye that he received a call from someone in the group that had taken his wife confirming that his seven-year-old son was with them and that they would bringing the child back to him. His wife was taken by the group to Mountain Rise Police Station where she was charged and arrested.
Govender’s family had expected her to be released after appearing in court but later received a telephone call from Mountain Rise police informing them she had attempted suicide by hanging herself with her blouse while in the holding cell. She was rushed to hospital and died on Thursday morning.
“After the call, I rushed to the station. She was critical; she couldn’t talk or say anything, she was on stretcher,” said the husband, adding that his wife was a “fragile” person who suffered from high blood pressure and was being treated for cancer.
Speaking to the Public Eye at Northdale Hospital, board chairperson Rachel Soobiah said she had taken up the matter with the authorities.
“We are doing everything we can for the family. The MEC and the health portfolio committee have been notified and are trying to help the family,” said Soobiah.
uMgungundlovu North Cluster spokesperson, Captain Gay Ebrahim, said, “At 6am on Tuesday (March 13), it was discovered that the deceased attempted suicide whilst in the cells.   She was subsequently assisted by members of the SAPS and an ambulance was requested to attend to her.  It was decided to then release her from police custody and she was transported to Northdale Hospital for further treatment.
“The deceased was suffering from a terminal illness and was in a frail condition; post mortem results are awaited to confirm the cause of death. The station commander sends his deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” said Ebrahim.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi
Journalist

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