Wrongly pronounced dead

Langa resident, Fungiwe Kilifele, who was mistakenly declared dead at the New Somerset Hospital, in December last year, is angry and wants action taken against the provincial Department of Health.

But authorities say the matter has now been resolved and that Ms Kilifele can expect her pension payments to resume next month.

The 65-year-old mother of two said her life took a turn for the worst when her daughter, Buyiswa, died towards the end of November last year after a short illness. She said her daughter had been admitted to New Somerset Hospital at the time.

Ms Kilifele told Vukani when she was informed by the doctors that her daughter had died, she immediately visited the hospital with other family members. She claimed that when she arrived at the hospital, doctors gave her a letter indicating that she was dead.

Ms Kilifele said she explained to them that it was her daughter who had died and asked them to rectify the mistake.

She said the doctors gave her a letter of apology and she thought that the matter had been resolved. But she was shocked when she received a death certificate a couple of days later bearing her name. “I could not believe it,” she said.

She has since been trying to have the error rectified, but to no avail. “This has caused me so much pain. My life is at a standstill,”she said. Since December last year, she said, she had not received her old age social grant and is now struggling to provide food for her two grandchildren.

Ms Kilifele said her daughter had left two children behind and she struggled to access foster care grants for them.

“My daughter was like my sister to me. We did everything together,” she said. “I would wake her up in the morning and accompany her to the taxi rank, and again fetch her when she comes back from work. If she did not have children I could have also killed myself because I would not see the point of living.”

Ms Kilifele said she had been informed by the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) that she would receive her grant next month or in July. But she had not been told whether the money would be backdated to January.

Mark van der Heever, spokesperson for the Department of Health, said they were looking into how this could have happened.

He said the hospital had also already completed a letter stating that the mistake must be rectified and the correct death certificate was then issued by Home Affairs. “We will continue to assist in any other documentation that they require from Home Affairs to correct it on the system,” he said.

Shivani Wahab, spokesperson for Sassa, said all outstanding grant payments for the period of January 2018 until June 2018 would be paid with the June payment .

“Ms Kilifele also completed a child supports grant application in April 2018 and the first payment will also take effect as of 1 June 2018,” she said

Thabo Makgola, spokeperson of the department of Home Affairs, said the provincial manager for Home Affairs in Cape Town had assigned officials to investigate the matter and that Ms Kilifele would be contacted for further information.