THE FAMILY of former Namibian ambassador and presidential aide Daniel Smith say they will not attend his funeral after they were informed that the government will bury him although they had requested he be cremated.
Smith died of Covid-19 on 13 September aged 65 and his widow, Revival, chose to cremate his body so the family would be allowed to attend his burial.
The family was informed on Wednesday that the body could not be cremated because of a minor breakdown.
Under Covid-19 burial regulations, the body has to be buried within 72 hours unless the family opts for cremation, and the burial can take place any time thereafter. A state funeral only allows two family members to attend the burial.
Revival said when her husband died, she was in Swakopmund and she could not travel back immediately because the country was still under lockdown which ended on 17 September.
She said the ministry of health allowed the family to keep the body for a week longer so she could travel to Windhoek for the burial.
"I told them I don't mind waiting because I had already made arrangements for the cremation. Now today at around midday, Avbob was informed that they would bury my husband tomorrow because he has been in the fridge for long," she said.
Revival queried why they were in a hurry to bury him since he has already been frozen and it had been agreed that he would be cremated.
"I signed off that he be cremated. How can they tell me through her (Avbob representative) that they will bury him tomorrow whether I am there or not?" she asked.
The widow said the family has refused to attend the burial, saying it is not fair for her to choose two people to attend the burial if it is arranged by the state. Smith had four children.
The family had already made arrangements for a memorial service at the residence on Friday with burial set for Saturday.
City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye told The Namibian on Thursday that routine maintenance was being done on the crematorium.
He said because of this, all funeral parlours had been informed that there would be no cremations until repairs are done, "hopefully by tomorrow".
Smith was an aide to founding president Sam Nujoma, before he joined the Namibian diplomatic service. He retired from his position as Namibian ambassador to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland in 2013 - a position he held for three years.
He also served as Charge d'Affaires at the Namibian embassy in Austria between 2003 and 2006 and later as high commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria from 2006 to 2010.