never again

Maria Colitz & her late husband Fredrick Colitz

Pauline Tholoane & her late brother-in-law Isaac Tholoane

No-one was there

Pauline doesn’t remember where or when this photograph of Isaac was taken. But she remembers Isaac well. ‘He was my husband’s younger brother. He was a respectful and quiet person. He liked to draw houses. I think he wanted to be an architect,’ she recalls.

Isaac Tholoane worked as a builder for someone in Bez Valley. While at work he fell and suffered a very bad head injury. ‘He was never okay after that,’ his sister-in-law Pauline recalls.

Isaac was eventually admitted to Life Esidimeni in Waverley, where he lived for a year. Tefo, Pauline’s son remembers those visits to see his uncle. ‘He always asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. We liked to chat about life,’ he says.

Pauline clearly recalls the day they went to visit Isaac at Waverley, only to find he wasn’t there. ‘No-one was there,’ she says. ‘The gate was locked and they couldn’t tell us where he had been moved to. I was so scared.’

After nine months of looking for him, the family was finally told that Isaac was dead. ‘They took so long to tell us he was dead. And they didn’t even put him in a fridge at the mortuary. When we found the body it was badly decomposed,’ says Pauline.

Pauline used to work at a dry cleaners and now lives off her small pension. Her husband has also passed away. She says she is tired and would like to try to forget what happened to Isaac. It was just too painful. But her son Tefo doesn’t agree. ‘The people responsible for this got away with it. It’s not enough. It’s not right. They must go to jail,’ he says.