Johannesburg – The family of late ANC stalwart Kebby Maphatsoe feels disgruntled and shattered following the recent vandalism of his tombstone at Westpark Heroes’ Acre cemetery in Johannesburg.
According to the family spokesperson Joseph Maphatsoe who is also the brother of Kebby, it is believed that the tombstone was vandalized last week.
Describing the incident on how it happened, Joseph said the family is deeply concerned with the tragedy that happened to the grave of the late Maphatsoe, who served as the head for the now disbanded Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA), during his tenure before he passed away in August last year.
“There’s no sign that the tombstone could have accidently fallen due to strong wind or a heavy storm, but we smell a rat that it could have possibly been act of sabotage, but we don’t want to put fingers on anyone, as we don’t know what happened,” he said.
Joseph says that he discovered the damaged tombstone on Wednesday last week when he came to the gravesite.
When asked if the family approached the security at the graveyard, Joseph confirmed the family went to the security to enquire, in which the security force had no glue of what happened to the grave of Maphatsoe and said it could have crushed due to the heavy storms.
“This really concerned us as the family, the tombstone was shattered in two pieces, that’s really alarming, and more shockingly as it was the only vandalized tombstone in this gravesite,” added reverend Maphatsoe.
“Something that is funny is that some tombstones that are higher than this one are still intact, and they are in the same position of the tombstone of Kebby, how pathetic is that?” he said.
“But it has happened, the family is now liaising with the service provider to repair the tombstone.
When Sunday World asked Joseph, if the family opened a case with the police following this vandalism, he said the wife of the late Maphatsoe said the family can leave the matter unresolved as she believes it could have been destroyed due to weather.
“When we spoke to the wife, she said we must not just do anything and said we shouldn’t open the case, as she says she believes weather could be the main course for the damaged tombstone,” he said.
A tweet with pictures of the damaged tombstone, was shared on Twitter by former spokesperson of the African National Congress (ANC) Carl Niehaus.
Niehaus who was a staunch supporter of the late Maphatsoe, labelled this act as disgusting and terrifying to tarnish the grave of the late freedom fighter in this manner.
“It was with disgust and shock that I saw yesterday at Westpark Heroes Acre that the tombstone of the late President of MKMVA, Cde Kebby Maphatsoe was vandalized and desecrated. This is politics from the gutter. Those responsible must be identified & charged,” said Maphatsoe.
Maphatsoe, who served as deputy minister of defence and military veterans between 2014 and 2019, and best known for his support of former President Jacob Zuma, died last year on 31 August at his home in Meyersdal.
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