Family under scrutiny for disabled boy’s death

12-year-old buried hours after his death without informing authoritie­s

- By Keletso Mkhwanazi

Police have opened an inquest into the death of a 12-year-old disabled boy whose family buried him without informing authoritie­s in KwaZulu-Natal on a farm.

Nondumiso Zondi died a lonely and painful death in a one-roomed shack he spent all his life in Coffee Farm, KwaNdengez­i.

He was allegedly buried at his home on a Sunday morning following his death on Saturday evening.

According to a statement issued by the department of social developmen­t, his father Mdu Zondi, 31, allegedly buried him in a shallow grave and did not report his death.

The department’s spokespers­on, Lumka Oliphant, said Nondumiso had been bed-ridden for 12 years in the backyard shack of his family home and was not attending school.

“He had cerebral palsy, a condition that affects movement, posture and co-ordination,” said Oliphant.

She said that on Wednesday, about four whistleblo­wers alerted deputy minister of social developmen­t Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu about the boy whose family would allegedly leave him in the room by himself with the TV playing on maximum volume.

“His grandmothe­r, who was collecting a grant on his behalf, passed away in May this year, leaving his stepmother as his primary caregiver,” Oliphant said.

She said one of the whistleblo­wer further spoke about how Nondumiso had died and was buried.

“The family did not notify authoritie­s about Nondumiso’s death.

“No death certificat­e was issued by authoritie­s,” said

‘‘ The family did not notify authoritie­s about it

‘‘ After being told about it, I could not sleep at night


This prompted BogopaneZu­lu to visit the Zondi family on Thursday.

“That night after being told about Nondumiso I could not sleep.

“I kept on praying and pleading with God that there would be no truth to this story,” said Bogopane-Zulu.

Nondumiso’s stepmother, Nontuthuko Zondi, 28, confirmed to the minister that her stepson had died after a short illness.

“Nondumiso’s father, Zondi, and three of his friends dug a grave for him and buried him on Sunday morning at 8am where family members and some neighbours attended the funeral,” she said.

Kwa-Ndengezi police were immediatel­y notified by Bogopane-Zulu and a search and rescue team exhumed Nondumiso’s body, which was sent to the Pinetown state mortuary on Friday.

Bogopane-Zulu indicated that 243 children were murdered between April and June of 2022.

“This happens during Disability Rights Awareness Month. Disabled children deserve a right to a dignified life just like any other child,” said Bogopane-Zulu, who could not hold back her tears while the search and rescue team exhumed Zondi’s body.

Disability Rights Awareness Month is an annual campaign currently underway – from November 3 to December 3 – under the theme “Empowering Persons with Disabiliti­es through a resourcefu­l, sustainabl­e and safe environmen­t”.

KZN police spokespers­on Lt-Col Nqobile Gwala said they are investigat­ing the circumstan­ces leading up to the death of the boy. “Investigat­ions are underway, no arrests have been made,” she said.

 ?? / SUPPLIED ?? 12-year-old Nondumiso Zondi’s body was retrieved by the police from shallow grave at Coffee Farm in KwaZulu-Natal.
/ SUPPLIED 12-year-old Nondumiso Zondi’s body was retrieved by the police from shallow grave at Coffee Farm in KwaZulu-Natal.

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