Sanelisiwe’s family find her in a morgue where she’s lain for a month
The family of a missing 17-year-old Northdale girl made the grim discovery at the weekend that her body had been lying in the Northdale Hospital mortuary for more than a month.
Sanelisiwe Buthelezi went missing on August 5, and was last seen on her way to her home in Ghandi Road.
As heavy rain pelted the city streets on Friday night, her family received information that she had been assaulted on the day of her disappearance and taken away in an ambulance, which led them to look for her in local hospitals in the hope of finding her.
Her brother-in-law, Mxolisi Innocent Zuma, told The Witness that they were called by a landlord in the Site 11 area of Woodlands — who had seen Sanelisiwe’s photo on a missing person’s flyer — who claimed she had seen Sanelisiwe being assaulted by her tenant the day she went missing. “The landlord told us that this tenant accused her of stealing from him. He hit her on the head with a garden fork and she started bleeding. The landlord intervened and called an ambulance,” Zuma said.
“Because the landlord had called an ambulance … we thought maybe she was still admitted. We looked in all the wards [at Northdale Hospital] and we couldn’t find her. The staff then suggested we look in the mortuary.
“We found her body there, already decomposing. We were in shock. We didn’t want to believe she was dead and we were refusing to [search for her body] in the mortuary.”
Her sister, Zama Buthelezi Zuma, said Sanelisiwe had not been attending school because she had a mental condition that rendered her permanently delirious, and for which she had been hospitalised. Sanelisiwe’s family were trying to get her booked into a home that helped people with her condition.
Zama had last seen her sister when she had walked her halfway from her home in Cassimjee Road to the house Sanelisiwe lived in with her brother, Msizi, in Ghandi Road. “She often ran away to Site 11 and would visit friends and stay there. Nothing happened to her before. We thought she was going to come back because it happened so often.”
Sanelisiwe had been raised by Zama after her parents died when she was very young.
“She was the only child I’d raised. The only thing I knew was to take care of her and protect her. I didn’t think anything like this would happen to her. Why would someone do something like this?”
Sanelisiwe was described as a happy girl who loved singing, dancing and being around people. A funeral will be held at the end of the week, family said.
Police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said no arrests would be made until the inquest to establish the cause of Sanelisiwe’s death is finalised.