Picture: Ndoni Mcunu and S'phumelele Mnomiya.
By Lerato Ngwenya
The family of the renowned scientist Ndoni Mcunu, say they were disappointed to learn about the draft report of the investigation into their daughter’s death through the media. This is after a leading news publication published details of a report by the labour department on the death of Mcunu and her friend, S'phumelele Mnomiya.
The two women died from a gas leak while on holiday at the Cradle Boutique Hotel on April 16, 2022.
“It is disheartening that we as the family had to learn about Ndoni’s death report via social media. Neither SAPS nor the Cradle Boutique Hotel has contacted us regarding this case, and we were previously informed by the department of labour that the investigation process towards the report takes six months” said, family spokesperson Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster.
According to media reports, a preliminary report by the labour department into the deaths of Mcunu and her long-term friend Mnomiya suggests that they were given an outdoor heater to use inside their hotel tent.
The draft report also showed that several attempts to switch on the heater failed, but the gas was not closed on the cylinder, the gas cylinder still had gas during the preliminary investigation.
Hlazo-Webster said, "All the family wants is closure so that they can be able to mourn their daughter’s passing in peace".
Aurelia Nxumala Mnomiya, who is a spokesperson for the Mnomiya family, said they could not believe what they read on Twitter.
“I was made aware of the report being published by a friend, and I was in a meeting; I could not believe my eyes reading Sowetan’s article. I quickly went through my emails, because I thought I had missed an email from the department.”
The two families said they have not yet received any report.
The Human Cradle Nature Reserve spokesperson, Charmaine Naidoo, said they do not fully agree with the department's findings.
“You are asking me about a preliminary report which we do not entirely agree with. According to our knowledge, the matter is still under investigation, and we are cooperating with the department of labour. We are therefore not able to comment,” she said
The labour department could not be reached for comment.