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Family in funeral nightmare   


Katleho Bafokeng Mahoana
Katleho Bafokeng Mahoana

…fails to bury mother nine months after death due to lack of funds

Motsamai Mokotjo


Nine months.

That is how long the body of ‘Matankiso Mahoana has been in a local mortuary due to her family’s failure to raise the necessary funds for her burial.

‘Matankiso’s son, Katleho Bafokeng Mahoana of Mazenod, on Tuesday told the Sunday Express that since his 74-year-old mother passed away in November 2014, he had failed to lay her to rest due to lack of funds.

Mr Mahoana says he is jobless and occasionally gets employment as a bricklayer. The money he gets from the piece-jobs, Mr Mahoana told the Sunday Express, is not enough to both look after his family and for the expenses he needs to pay to bury his mother.

“When my mother died in November last year, I took her to the nearest mortuary. My brother and I agreed to contribute M700 each for the burial. He managed to come up with the money and while I was running around trying to raise my contribution, my brother disappeared without handing me his M700.

“I tried to look for him but couldn’t find him. I decided to seek help from my aunt, but she wasn’t of much help either; she doesn’t even live in Lesotho,” said Mr Mahoana.

According to the 36-year-old father-of-two, he decided to seek help from the Koro-Koro Member of Parliament (MP), Motebang Koma, of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) under whose jurisdiction Mazenod falls, to no avail.

“After three months without hearing anything from my brother, I went to see Ntate Koma who told us to meet the local councillor, who would in turn get back to us, which he never did.

“Two weeks later, Ntate Koma said the councillor had told him he didn’t know us. We have tried to seek further clarity on this from the MP without any success,” Mr Mahoana said.

However, Mr Mahoana said the Democratic Congress (DC) Proportional Representation (PR) seat MP for Koro-Koro, Refiloe Litjobo, had since come to the family’s rescue.

“There was a DC rally held in Ha ‘Mantšebo before the elections in February, and my wife attended it.

“The local DC committee then informed Ntate Litjobo about our plight and he promised to look into our problem.

“At almost the same time, my brother made contact with me and said he had come to help with the burial. But he then said since I was getting help from the DC and he was from the ABC, he was no longer going to be part of the burial,” said Mr Mahoana.

On his part, Mr Litjobo told the Sunday Express it was unfortunate those with the powers to help communities were not doing their job.

“I can’t help it; normally when people from Koro-Koro have problems and the authorities have failed them, they come to me.

“I have been helping even before I became an MP; this is the fourth person I am helping to bury. It does not matter which party the family belongs to, I will always lend a helping hand wherever I can.”

According to Mr Litjobo, he had bought a M1 700 coffin for ‘Matankiso and was waiting to get further communication from the family regarding the funeral.

Asked if he was doing this to score political points, Mr Litjobo said: “You know, it doesn’t matter what people say or do about it. What I can only say is that it’s time people from Koro-Koro realised who has their best interests at heart.

“There are people who were transferred to stand for elections in Koro-Koro; the middleclass folks who think they can run the constituency differently from us.”

On his part, Mr Koma refuted Mr Mahoana’s claims, insisting: “I told them to go and see the local councillor, get a letter from their area chief since they told me they are from Mafeteng and to finally meet the ABC local committee.

“The family only went to the councillor and not the others, which could explain why he was not helped.”

On Mr Litjobo’s accusation that he was neglecting the constituency, Mr Koma said: “It’s pure politicking and I am really surprised to hear that this is the fourth person this DC MP is helping to bury.

“Maybe those are DC members because nothing of the sort has ever been reported to me.

“When you are a father, you should be the first one to hear about what happens in the family, but I’m always the last to be told.”

Mr Koma further said he was willing to help the family bury their mother.

“The problem is I don’t know the family’s requirements for the funeral service.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mahoana told the Sunday Express he was hoping to lay his mother to rest on 5 September.


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