Family of Hombisa Mafuduka, who died onboard MSC cruise ship, want answers

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The family of Hombisa Mafuduka, 31, who was a contract worker on a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) cruise ship, say they are not satisfied with the answers received regarding her death.

Mafuduka died in March 2022, while onboard an MSC cruise ship where she was working. She was from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.

The family says there are contradicting reports about her death and they want clarity. The MSC says it is concerned about her death and is also searching for answers.

The results of Mafuduka’s post-mortem have not been released.

Family spokesperson Lulu Mafuduka says it was a struggle to get information on her death from the beginning.

She says, “When I arrived there, we were not even allowed to go to MSC offices. There was nobody ready to talk to us. There was no one there who said we must come back on Monday, we had to battle up closed gates, forcing everybody to come and explain to us what happened . I went there and found that Hombisa had head injuries and a broken neck.”

Hombisa Mafuduka’s grandmother, Magesini Mafuduka says, “I am shocked, hurt and traumatized about Hombisa’s mysterious death because we do not know what actually happened, it’s better when you know that a person died of a natural death but the fact that she succumbed from head injuries is really worrying me.”

Lulu Mafuduka says they were denied access to view her body, but they forced their way in. The family says it is also being denied the results of the autopsy conducted on the body.

“There is no woman who can be told that her daughter is dead and is not authorized to see the body, they are telling her to wait a couple of days, what is a couple of days in one word. Another thing when I went to Durban, I found another story and there is no one to answer me. The only thing they ready to say to me is that they can help with the burial with everything, they even sent me a message saying I must send an account number. I said no I do not need an account number, I need a body of Hombisa because there is nothing I am going to do with money without Hombisa’s body,” says Lulu Mafuduka.

The managing director for MSC Cruises in South Africa, Ross Volk, says it is disheartening to see rumors and speculation being aired in the public domain that the company is accused of not being transparent.

The company says it also wants answers, just like her family but it is the police’s role to provide those answers.

MSC released the following statement, “Since we first learnt of this tragedy our senior management in South Africa immediately contacted the Mafuduka family to express our sorrow and concern and offer every available support to them. This continues to this day. We have also committed to continue paying Hombisa’s salary for 12 months to the family to ensure that her dependents are cared for. We have paid for hotels and travel to help the family visit the port of Durban and to return Hombisa’s body to her hometown.”

Police spokesperson, Robert Netshunda, says the investigation into the matter is still underway.

Netshunda says, “We can say that a case was opened, an inquest case was opened when a female employee at the MSC cruise ship was found dead and investigations are continuing.”

A public protest against Gender-Based Violence is also being planned to be held in Durban.