24 May 2019

South Africa: A Month After a Man Was Killed in a Car Accident, Police Finally Get in Touch With Family

After waiting just over a month for police to get back to them, following the death of 29-year-old Bongani Memoka in a car accident on April 19, his family is finally seeing some action.

They were not told of Memoka's death, even though police were at the scene of the accident. His sister, Nonkolo Memoka, said the family was only informed of his death when a government mortuary got in touch with them following a lengthy search for their loved one.

The grieving family approached the police on May 6 to retrieve Memoka's belongings. They were allegedly turned away.

"They told us to forget about the car because it is damaged beyond repair," the sister told News24 on Monday.

She further alleged that police threatened to sell parts of the car if they did not produce money.

A month passed and the Memoka family still did not have an inkling of the circumstances surrounding Memoka's death or the whereabouts of his car and belongings.

As a last resort, his sister appealed for help via Facebook.

"We gave the police a full month to help us but they are failing. The painful part is that the two police officers (whose names are known to News24) who were at the scene, are nowhere to be found every time we go to the station," she said.

"Justice must be served to the Memoka family. We have given them enough time. If this is how our SAPS (SA Police Service) treats society, then it must end," his sister posted on Facebook on Monday.

News24 asked Mpumalanga police for comment on Monday.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi indicated that he would respond as soon as he had more information.

A day later, Memoka's sister informed News24 that an investigator had contacted the family and was at their home in Middleburg, Mpumalanga compiling an accident report.

"I don't know what changed but after you called the police, they started to help us," she told News24 on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed to News24 that the issue had been resolved.

"I called the station concerned and they connected with the Memoka family. Today, they were able to go and see the car of the deceased and the mother has expressed to me that she is very happy," he explained.

The Mpumalanga police spokesperson also clarified that police never asked for money to store the vehicle.

"The people from the towing services wanted money for the car. The police negotiated that the car of the deceased must be released for free.

"We understand that community members may feel frustrated when they lose a loved one and they feel that police are not assisting them but I can confirm that everything has been sorted out," he said.

News24

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