The managing director of a pharmaceutical company in Sandton has obtained an urgent court interdict to stop his sister’s funeral until an autopsy can be carried out.
Judge Natvarlal Ranchod granted the order in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to Benjamin Semenya and his nephew, Tshegofatso Makhuba, postponing the funeral of his sister, Miriam Makhuba, until Saturday.
In terms of the court order, Semenya will arrange for an urgent post-mortem before the funeral, which will take place in Limpopo. The late Makhuba’s family were also granted the right to be involved in all rituals and traditions associated with the burial and Semenya undertook to contribute towards his sister’s funeral costs.
Semenya took his late sister’s widower, Peter Makhuba, to court after he allegedly refused to allow his wife’s family to attend her funeral, or even to tell them where it would be held after her sudden death on July 24. He said in court papers he and Tshegofatso, his late sister’s eldest son, had the right to first determine what the cause of her death was and also to attend and have a say in her funeral.
According to Semenya, his brother-in-law initially agreed to a meeting with his mother-in-law to discuss the burial, but thereafter refused to take their calls. He also informed Tshegofatso that none of his wife’s family would be allowed to see his wife’s remains.
Semenya said he did not understand the reasons for his brother-in-law’s attitude. He said that both families would be traumatised if the funeral went ahead and they afterwards had to exhume his sister’s body for an autopsy.
“A person should only have one funeral … where both her inlaws and the direct family should all be able to attend,” he said.