Corpse left in EL park while children played
The body of a dead man lay for 12 hours in Southernwood’s St James Park before the corpse was finally removed by authorities on Monday night.
A group of residents, who slammed police for negligence, said children were playing in the park as the corpse remained uncollected.
Resident Asanda Ndabambi, 35, was on his way to work before 8am on Monday when he first saw the unidentified 40-year-old man, who he initially thought was sleeping. But on his return from work at 4pm, he saw the man in exactly the same position.
Ndabambi said: “I noticed that he was sleeping in the same position as in the morning and I went to investigate and saw that foam was covering his mouth. He was dead.”
He immediately called the 10111 call centre. Together with two other friends, he called the police from 4pm until 6pm, yet no one arrived.
After tiring of the the police’s “empty promises”, he decided to drive to Fleet Street police station to make a statement about the corpse.
Thando Cezulu, who lives with Ndabambi in a block of flats near the park, said children were playing on the jungle gym and swings all Monday afternoon while the man’s body lay in the grass.
“Many people thought he was just a vagrant or an alcoholic who had passed out. But my flatmate raised the alarm when he came back from work,” Cezulu said.
“For two hours the cops didn’t come. This was not handled in a dignified manner. Children were skipping by and eating ice creams.”
When the Dispatch arrived at the scene at 7pm, two policeman were cordoning off the scene. The man’s face was covered with a red beanie.
But East London police spokesperson Captain Hazel Mqala blamed the change in the police shift for the delays.
Mqala said the police’s radio control room had received and recorded the first call at 5.25pm.
“But delays were caused because, at 6pm, a new shift takes over. The new team must do a parade for 15 minutes to demonstrate their fitness to work.”