Oom Paul: ‘Enough is enough’

Hertzogville – The government has now intervened to get the body of Oom Paul Meintjes, who has been dead for 51 days, into a grave. His body, in a coffin, is next to his widow’s bed.

If his family doesn’t bury him by Saturday morning, he will receive a compulsory state funeral.

After the intervention of the Free State health department, police on Thursday night issued an order on Oom Paul’s family.

His widow, Anna, and her children, Pieter and Petro Joseph, have been waiting for weeks with Durban “prophet” David Francis for Oom Paul’s resurrection.

After the old man’s death on July 1, “prophet” Francis foretold that he would rise again.

Until a few days ago, Oom Paul was being put up in the local mortuary at a cost of R250 a day.

Now, the family has been given 36 hours in terms of the health act to bury him. If they refuse, the state will confiscate the body and bury it.

Officials from the health department in Welkom visited the Meintjes house on Thursday.

Too warm in the house for the body

A neighbour had complained about Oom Paul’s deomposing body that had been lying in a coffin in the house since Wednesday.

The officials found the stipulations of the health act were not being met.

Oom Paul’s body could not be kept in this way in the house. It was much too warm.

After a long meeting between the officials and the town’s police, the order to bury Oom Paul was dropped off on Thursday evening by captain Roelof Coertze, the town’s chief detective, and captain Jaco Breedt, the town’s police chief.

Anna Meintjes and her daughter received it “in a friendly fashion and in good spirit”.

“Prophet” Francis, who had predicted the resurrection and refused to allow Oom Paul to be buried, was nowhere to be seen.

Captain Sam Makhele of Free State police said the order was delivered to the family in terms of article 48 of the health act.

A body may not be held in any place or circumstances that may pose a health risk or be a burden in the opinion of the state or a medical official.

If a body was unclaimed or no capable person undertook to bury it, a magistrate, judge, medical pratictioner or police officer could order it to be removed.

“If Meintjes’ body is not buried within 36 hours, it will be taken to the state mortuary.

“A court will then be asked if the body can be buried by the state.”

Sister pleased it’s almost over

Oom Paul’s other daughter, Dalene Swanepoel of Kimberley, who is not part of the resurrection saga, said: “I am grateful things are drawing to a close.

“They must bury my father and be done with it. I will be there afterwards for my mom, brother and sister.”

Oom Paul’s sister, Hettie Vorster, who never wants to see her brother’s widow and those two children again, said: “I’m glad someone finally intervened. It is right. My brother must be buried now.”

At the Meintjes home, where Oom Paul’s body is lying, the windows are open and face masks against the smell of a decomposing body were delivered on Thursday.

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