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Govt offers to repatriate Lindani Myeni's body to SA - report

 

The South African government has offered to bring the remains of former rugby player Lindani Myeni back home, the family of 29-year-old told the SABC.

The father of two was shot and killed during an alleged altercation with Honolulu police in the US state of Hawaii.

Sizani Nhleko, the victim's mother, said that the government was in constant communication with them and that her son’s body was yet to be released from the US government mortuary.

“The ambassador from overseas called us and gave their condolences as well as from the president - our President Cyril Ramaphosa. Last night, they spoke with us, and they promised that as soon as the body is released from the USA government to their hands, then they will do by all means to bring his body back home. I must say that the government is behind us; we really appreciate their support,” said Nhleko to the SABC.

The athletes' family had launched an online crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to repatriate his body for burial. The campaign has already raised more than R228,000.

Myeni’s uncle, Andile Shashu, said that the Go Fund Me Page funds that they have raised would assist with the investigations.

"The campaign is going to help reach the lawyers and all the investigations since this is not the end and also the campaign we’ve shared in a lot of platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp," he explained.

It is unclear what sparked the confrontation, with the Honolulu police claiming that they were responding to a call of a burglary in progress.

The police have defended their actions and said that they were protecting themselves against Myeni, who they claimed acted violently when he was being apprehended for an alleged house burglary.

The former rugby player's family told Eyewitness News that they were not convinced by the police’s statement.

Nonhlanhla Myeni said that her nephew, Lindani, was brought up well and she did not believe that he was capable of the crime he's accused of committing.

"The story is one-sided because he is no longer here to answer for himself on what really, honestly and exactly happened on that horrible night."

The aunt said that the police should have acted better.

"If you point a flashlight and gun in someone's eyes and tell them to get on the ground, the person will know you are not the police and that his life is in danger because the gunman did not say police. Fight or flight is inevitable."

The 29-year-old was said to have been confronted by at least three officers who allegedly failed to announce themselves and show their credentials before he was shot.

The Hawaii Police Department claimed that Myeni acted violently after a female complainant called for their intervention in a bid to allegedly get Myeni out of her property.

The police have released some bodycam footage, but his wife Lindsay Miyeni said that selective release was not good enough.

She believed that Lindani's race played a part in his death.

"He's such a special person. I can't believe God gave him to me. I feel so blessed and I'm beyond upset about this."

Myeni's former coach and friend, Junior Makhoba, said that the Hawaii Police Department's statement was not convincing.

“We have seen the video where he is fighting with the police and well again, it’s just one side of the story. Lindani wasn’t a violent person at all.”

Myeni, a prince by title, is survived by his wife and their two children.

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