Red Cross Buys Coffin for Pauper

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Half a month not knowing how they will bury their dead due to poverty, the //Hoesemas family was yesterday relieved when the Namibia Red Cross Society bought a coffin for the late Maria //Hoesemas. //Hoesemas’ body has been lying at the Katutura State Hospital mortuary for two and a half weeks now without being buried because the family did not have money to buy even a bottom-priced cardboard coffin. But Namibia Red Cross spokesperson Morning-Star Rosario told New Era that her organization has availed N$2 500 needed for the burial. “We ordered the coffin and will cover the costs for the undertaker,” she said. She said had the family approached the organization earlier, //Hoesemas’ body would have been put to rest a long time back. “We only learnt about this in the media,” she said. Cousin to the deceased Verona Kharuchas confirmed the donation and said the late //Hoesmas will be buried on Saturday at the Khomasdal cemetery. “”I am very grateful for what the Red Cross has done for us. There is no way I was going to afford that amount,” said Kharuchas. The family is still seeking financial assistance to buy food for the funeral. Kharuchas, who is currently unemployed, also said that the late //Hoesemas left behind three children aged 15, 13 and nine. Due to her economic status, she intends to register the three children for the welfare programmes as provided by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. While most members of society might be confused as to which ministry should deal with situations where relatives cannot bury their loved ones due to lack of funds, the Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi has clarified that this task falls under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. “The Ministry of Health only contributes if the patient dies and if the body is not known and relatives cannot be traced,” he said. The Deputy Director of the Social Welfare Desk in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Eric Biwa, told New Era that this programme no longer exists. He added that his ministry only caters for old-age pensioners and people with disabilities. The rather agitated Biwa could not reveal why this programme no longer exists or say what the current situation is with regard to the programme. The late //Hoesmas was the mother of the little girl who was allegedly brutally raped and killed early last year by a security guard. Early this week, members of the bereaved family of the late Maria //Hoesemas were at the mortuary trying to figure out how best they could put their loved one to rest. However, without any means to cover the funeral costs of a N$2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 500 coffin, the funeral arrangements for //Hoesemas could not be finalized. The 34-year-old //Hoesemas passed away on September 11 this year, without learning the fate of the alleged killer, whose court case started on Friday, or why the life of her little girl, four-year-old Manuela Sophia //Hoesemas, was brutally cut short. Security guard, Lesly Kukame, allegedly killed the child behind the old cinema building in Katutura on February 10 last year. Kukame reappeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court last Friday, but his case was postponed to December 8 for further investigation.