‘I just want to bury my son and heal’

By Thomo Nkgadima

A Limpopo family is appealing for the return of the remains of a relative who was burnt beyond recognition in a shack fire three weeks ago.

Joseph Seroale was sleeping in his shack in Praktiseer near Burgersfort when it caught fire on October 29. His charred remains have since been taken away to determine the cause of death. This action forms part of the investigation for the inquest case opened by the Tubatse police.

The cause of the fire is unknown, and it is also unknown if the 55-year-old deceased was alive when his shack caught fire. These are the details the inquest case seeks to clarify, according to the office of the Limpopo police commissioner Lit-Gen Thembi Hadebe.

“The Provincial Commissioner is saddened by this incident and has instructed the police to fast-track investigation to unearth the truth about the cause and his demise,” said Limpopo police in a statement.

However, Serala’s grieving family say they cannot wait any longer to bring closure to the tragedy that has befallen them. They say they want their kinsman’s remains to be given a dignified burial and find closure.

Seroale’s mother, Sara Seroale, 71, said the family was upset that they had to travel to Lebowakgomo, 120km away, to get an update from the police on the autopsy.

“We know very well that he was staying alone in the shack. We have no doubt it was him;  we have also positively identified him despite his mortal injuries,” Sara said.

She said tissue samples have been taken from the bodies of family members in order for DNA tests to be conducted.

Family needs counselling

But the wait is weighing down heavily on the family, spiritually and financially.

“We have lost money through postponing funeral dates. Even worse, we are not updated [by the police] about the progress of the case.

“We cannot wait anymore. This long process is straining us and deepening our pain. My health has been badly affected. I just want to bury my son and heal,” Sara said.

Serala’s younger sister, Glender, gave the pain of the family in a different dimension.

“I am the one who identified his burnt body. My mind has not been ok ever since. My mother is sick. We need to be provided with counselling,” Glender said.

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