A Cape Town family has been unable to bury a loved one for a year because there are no matching DNA samples to prove that the deceased is a member of their family.
31-year old Vuyisani Falteni died in September last year.
His uncle, who is the only surviving family member, was
only informed of Falteni's death two months later.
The family says the process to give their loved one a proper burial has been more painful than the death itself.
Falteni died of natural causes at the
Mitchells Plain Hospital in September, but the family says it was only informed in November.
His uncle Vavu Zenzile says, "The young man's mother has died.
They want a DNA test but there are no siblings.
We tried to find out how else to do this.
They said we can bring the mother's death certificate, the deceased's death certificate and his birth certificate.
We delivered all those but they still insist that we can't have the body because the documents are not proof enough that this is our relative."
Salt River Mortuary has confirmed the body is being held there.
Pathologist Wayne Mitten says, "Unfortunately the only sample available to compare against is the uncle.
The uncle does not make a good comparison.
It has to be a sibling or a direct family member of the deceased.
The process has been followed from the forensic pathology services along with the South African Police Service, and now the identification and authorisation to hand over the deceased lies entirely with the South African Police Service." Police say without confirmation, the body cannot be released.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut says, "The investigation into the death has been completed, however facial identification and finger prints could not establish the identification of the victim.
The family was advised to seek a court order from the high court to have the body released." The Human Rights Commission in the Western Cape says the rights of the family for a prompt and dignified burial have been violated.
Commissioner Chris Nissen says, "The body now is in such a state that visual identification cannot happen and the next step is to do a DNA, and the DNA off course must be with a very close relative, so we will take a chance with the uncle to take a DNA, and we are now talking to the investigating officer to start that process and I must tell you, a good Samaritan has come to the aid and is prepared to pay for the DNA test".
Nissen says they will also approach the high court if the uncle's DNA does not match.