The family of a missing Eersterust man, Dean Jafta, found dead a year-and-half after his disappearance, says it wants to know why he was given a pauper funeral, besides the massive missing person campaign.
Police say Dean’s body was found in Midrand with several gunshot wounds.
On Monday, the Gauteng Community Safety MEC acknowledged that the police in Johannesburg have erred. Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said she wanted action taken against any police officer who made the mistake of giving the man a pauper’s burial.
Dean Jafta’s father Denzel says the family was notified only last week Thursday about his son’s death and that he was given a pauper funeral. Denzel says what surprises the family and the community of Eersterust is that police decided to give his son pauper burial.
This was besides the massive missing person campaign that was launched after his disappearance last year.
Denzel Jafta says: “Dean’s photos were on SABC2 and there was also news items being sent out about Dean’s disappearance. Social media also carried his photos everywhere. Yes, we are quite surprised that police and the mortuaries and Johannesburg people did not pick it up because I received messages from overseas and people phoning me from overseas who saw it in the USA and Germany that Dean has disappeared. But quite strangely in Johannesburg nobody picked up.”
He says what the family wants is justice and the exhumation of his body for proper burial.
“As a family we are looking for justice. We want to see justice prevail after such a period.”
On Monday, Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane visited the family to inform them about the mistake.
Nkosi-Malobane also promised the family that tough action would be taken against any police officers who caused the mix-up that led to Dean being buried under fictitious name of John Louw.
Nkosi-Malobane statement was confirmed by police spokesperson, Sergeant Sam Shibambo who said investigations are currently underway.
Shibambo says: “The detective coordinator in the province has already launched an investigation into that and will be investigating as an internal matter. For instance if one of the members is found to have faulted in any way there will be action that will be taken against that particular members.”
Shibambo says the police have also submitted a request to court to exhume the remains of Dean Jafta.
Shibambo says: “An application has already been done to the magistrates to request for the exhumation of dead body and after that is then that we can engage further with the family and give them dates as to when can they come and collect the body, but it is still a matter of investigation.”
Community leader, Novina Pillay says the dead person body mix-up could have been avoided if police had followed a proper identification process.
Novina Pillay says: “Things could have been different if procedures were followed. For example when the found the body they could have just because is an known person they could have just send the photos to different police stations. But now the family has to struggle to get his remains back as well. So I feel that this thing can be speed up in order to give them closure that a parents losing a child would bring.”
Shibambo adds that several people, arrested in connection with the Dean Jafta case, will appear in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on the 20th of this month.