RELATIVES of a teacher who was found dead at a school in Nkayi on Monday have accused the police of blocking them from collecting the body of the deceased for three days.
Report by Silas Nkala, Staff Reporter
This resulted in the corpse reaching an advanced stage of decomposition as it was being kept in the malfunctioning Nkayi Hospital mortuary.
The police reportedly wanted a post-mortem to be carried out before burial to ascertain the cause of death.
The teacher, Vincent Dube, was found dead in his cottage after other teachers discovered he had not attended the school assembly that morning.
His nephew, Sihleziphi Dube, told NewsDay yesterday that the teachers reported the death to Nkayi police who took the body to the hospital mortuary.
“We called the police who told us they had collected the body and taken it to the mortuary,” said Sihleziphi.
“They later told us that the mortuary was not working. We wanted to collect the body and take it to the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH), but police blocked us saying they would do that on Tuesday.”
He said as a result the body had reached an advanced stage of decomposition.
Police arrived with the body at UBH yesterday at around 7am, but could not allow relatives to see it before a postmortem was done.
There was a heated confrontation between the police and the deceased’s three relatives at UBH. Later a doctor who was supposed to do the autopsy indicated that the postmortem was uncertain due to the decomposition of the body.
The police officers told the relatives that they were doing their duty and that included having the body examined.
“The Nkayi magistrate insisted on having the postmortem report done citing the possibility of foul play and we have to follow that. We will only release the body after the postmortem,” a police officer said.
Sihleziphi said they had already engaged a funeral parlour to collect the corpse for burial and they would bury the deceased at West Park Cemetery in the city tomorrow.
Matabeleland North police acting spokesperson Sergeant Eglon Nkala said he had not received a report on the matter.
However, he said: “There was no way police could bypass a postmortem in such a caseas the same relatives would complain again to police over their failure to investigate the case.”