Sunday, 8 November 2015

Zanele Death Mystery Deepens

The family of Zanele Moyo, daughter of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, has refuted South African media claims that the shocking removal of her heart during autopsy was done with their blessing.

The reports and their subsequent rebuffing raise further suspicion on the circumstances surrounding Zanele’s tragic death.

Her grieving family continues to seek answers, with latest information indicating that South African authorities are yet to satisfactorily explain their stance.
On Friday, South Africa’s Cape Times newspaper published an article that quoted SA Police Service spokesperson Mr Musa Zondi saying removing Zanele’s heart was “in order” as the Moyo family had agreed to this.
However, on behalf of the family, Prof Moyo’s lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein yesterday dismissed the report as false.
Zanele Death Mystery Deepens
Mr Hussein said: “We have been instructed by the family of the late Zanele to respond to reports that the removal of Zanele Moyo’s heart was in order and that the South African Police Service have advised the family on the correct route to follow, as regards the investigation.
“If the report on the above aspects carried in the Cape Times newspaper accurately reflects the views of the Western Cape Health Department and the South African Police Service spokesman, Mr Musa Zondi, the said comments are inaccurate and with respect, cannot go unchallenged.”

Mr Hussein said the Moyo family only learnt of the heart removal from the media.
“As regards the removal of Zanele’s heart, the grieving family only became aware of this unlawful, barbaric and insensitive act after a second postmortem was conducted by highly qualified personnel in Harare, Zimbabwe. The family had an opportunity to speak to the forensic pathologist on the day the postmortem was carried out and were informed that tissue and blood samples had been obtained from the deceased.
“No mention of the removal of the heart was made by the pathologist, nor was the family’s consent sought.
“A written complaint was sent to the Western Cape Health Department about this and other tardy aspects to the first postmortem and written confirmation of our complaints was received.”
He also said: “The Forensic Department did not make the revelation to us or the family that they indeed had removed the heart and that was legally in order. The painful fact has only been revealed by the Forensic Department to the Press.

“The Western Cape Health Department has not, either in writing or through its communication to the Press, indicated for what purpose they have retained the heart.
“Had it not been for the second postmortem requested by the family due to the inconclusive and tardy initial autopsy conducted in Cape Town, this illegality would never have come to light and those behind it would have gotten away with it and perpetrated this act in future cases.
“We do not find support in the law for the suggestion that the surreptitious removal of body parts without reference to the family is standard practice.”
Mr Hussein stressed that Saps is yet to update the Moyo family on the investigations of her death.
“At no time since the date of the autopsy has the South African Police Service contacted either ourselves or the family to update them on the investigation.
‘‘At no time has the South African Police Service advised, as indicated in the statement, the procedure the family should adopt in dealing with the issue.
“Having been met with frustrating silence from the South African Police Service on the status of the investigation, we were instructed on 2 November 2015 to file a formal standard autopsy to the Saps Head Office Complaints Unit. We have not had the standard courtesy of an acknowledgement of our letter, nor a response to our complaint.”

He added: “This is the legal route that one would adopt to complain about the quality of service of the South African Police Service. It is, therefore, incorrect to allege that the family has resorted to the Press and not to the Saps for relief.
“It must ironically be pointed out, however, that the family has learnt about the Saps stance through a Press report.”

20-year-old Zanele was a second year student majoring in Political Science, International Relations and Gender Studies at the University of Cape Town. She was found dead in her flat in Cape Town last month.
Pictures taken soon after her death showed the floor of her apartment smeared with what appeared to be a significant amount of blood. The blood appeared to start from the doorway of the bathroom leading to a toilet cubicle.