‘We were even considering burying Katlego in the backyard as we did not have a funeral policy as he was still so young.’
THE FIVE-year-old boy who drowned at the Riverton villas swimming pool on New Year’s Day will be given a decent burial today – thanks to a generous benefactor who offered to pay for the costs of the funeral.
The family of the young boy, Katlego Mothaletedi, indicated that they could not delay the funeral any longer. “The costs of storing his body at the mortuary of the funeral undertaker were adding up.”
A relative expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the donor.
“We were even considering burying Katlego in the backyard as we did not have a funeral policy as he was still so young. The family was struggling to raise enough funds for his funeral. We did not want a lavish funeral – only a proper coffin and a space in the graveyard where he can be laid to rest.
“The benefactor challenged the Mayor’s Office to also contribute and they agreed to provide 10 sheep.”
He stated that the funeral would take place from their home today, followed by the burial at West End Cemetery.
In a desperate plea for help, the family were planning on transporting the deceased in a body bag and leaving it on the steps of the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre tomorrow, to display to President Cyril Ramaphosa the “insensitivity” of the Sol Plaatje Municipality after it apparently flatly refused to contribute towards the funeral.
The relative indicated that Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo had visited the bereaved family on Tuesday but was steadfast that the municipality had no funds to assist with the funeral.
“We consulted with LegalWise, as well as a private lawyer, to discuss our options. We were considering taking legal action against the municipality to the value of R8 million for negligence.”
He also stated that the mayor had advised him that the municipality was in such a bad financial position that he was concerned that it would not be able to pay the salaries of employees.
“Even if he showed me all the financial reports, it cannot bring back a young life that was lost.”
He added that Katlego’s mother and two young brothers were in urgent need of counselling.
“They witnessed the drowning and had to assist in bringing their brother to the surface after he disappeared under the water. They are still extremely traumatised.”
ANC provincial spokesperson Naledi Gaosekwe said the party would contact the Department of Social Development to provide counselling for the family.
“The ANC provincial secretary intends visiting the family,” Gaosekwe added.
The spokesperson for the mayor, Persome Oliphant, said that Mabilo, together with two councillors, visited the bereaved family on Monday to express their heartfelt condolences.
“During the visit the executive mayor explained that the municipality is not in a position to financially assist, but he has committed to finding assistance from other stakeholders for funeral arrangements.”
Oliphant added that investigations into the drowning were still ongoing.