Khetheng’s wife demands say in burial

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Police load the exhumed remains of PC Ketheng into a vehicle

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE case in which ’Mathato Khetheng, the wife of Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng, is challenging the burial of her husband without her involvement will be argued at the High Court tomorrow before Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi.

’Mathato Khetheng, a nurse by profession, filed an urgent application seeking an order allowing her to bury her husband on the grounds that she is entitled to do so as his wife.

She also wants an order interdicting PC Khetheng’s father, Thabo Khetheng, from conducting the burial without consulting and agreeing with her.

“I may mention to the honourable court that I am the proper person to bury the deceased as I am the wife to the deceased,” ’Mathato states in her application.

“It could not be denied that I am a wife to the deceased and that the deceased has left a minor child under my custody and care.”

’Mathato further states that although they had some “misunderstandings with the deceased and we had to live in different places,” they would meet when their child visited her father.

She further states that some rituals that showed that she was married into the Khetheng family were done during her pregnancy to acknowledge that she was carrying a Khetheng baby.

’Mathato avers that their daughter who was born on 28 January 2010 was later baptised with the blessing of the Khetheng family which was now denying her the right to bury her husband.

“The family of the deceased has not even mentioned or made an attempt to mention the existence of the child, and it is the same child who has the right to the (deceased’s) funds.

“I therefore stick to my stance that that the (deceased’s) benefits should be used to the best interests of his child.”

’Mathato holds that burial preparations being made without her and her child are an “illegality of great magnitude” perpetrated by her father in law, who has always distanced himself from her and is therefore cited as the first respondent in the matter.

The other respondents are Metropolitan Lesotho, Lesotho Funeral Services, the Commissioner of Police, Master of High Court and the Attorney General.

PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 25 March 2016 and had not been seen or heard from since.

This prompted his father, Thabo Khetheng, to lodge an application before the High Court on 18 July 2016 for the police authorities to produce him dead or alive.

PC Khetheng had been arrested and charged on allegations that he torched the house of his superior in Mokhotlong district where he was deployed.

He was allegedly last seen with Inspector Mofolo, PC Ntoane, PC ‘Mabohlokoa Makotoko and Senior Inspector Matona.

The LMPS had argued that PC Khetheng had left the Hlotse police station without permission and they did not know where he was. For its part, the Khetheng family argued that the police should know where he was because they arrested him.

A body believed to be that of PC Khetheng was exhumed at Lepereng Cemetery in the Maseru district on 11 August after the police were granted a court order by the Magistrate’s Court in light of the ongoing investigations into his disappearance and suspected murder.

Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu (51), Senior Inspector Mabitle Matona (39), Sub Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane (44) and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo (49) have since been charged with murdering PC Khetheng.

PC Khetheng’s burial is scheduled to take place on 26 August in Mokhotlong.

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