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Airlink blasted over Dabengwa body fiasco

by ZimLive
27 May 2019 at 15:13hrs | Views
South African airline Airlink has been branded "rude and insensitive" after failing to apologise for offloading national hero Dumiso Dabengwa's casket in Johannesburg without informing his family on Sunday.

Dabengwa's wife, Zodwa, and other family members flew to Bulawayo thinking they were taking the war hero home, but were stunned when they landed at Joshua Mqabuko International Airport and discovered he had been left behind - airline staff claimed because his casket was too big.

Dabengwa died last Thursday in Kenya while returning from India where he received treatment for liver disease.

Airlink posted a statement on its Twitter confirming the ZAPU leader's body had been left behind in South Africa - but offered no apology to the family or the thousands who waited at the airport in Bulawayo.

"Airlink confirms that the mortal remains of Bab' Dabengwa was transferred off an international flight and did not make the original Airlink flight. Alternative arrangements have been made with the family members," the brief statement said.

Siphosami Malunga, a family friend who was on the flight with Dabengwa's wife, said Airlink's monopoly on the route had made it a "terribly uncaring airline".

Reacting to the airline's statement, Malunga said: "I thought it was just the pilot that was rude and insensitive. Clearly, it's an organisational culture, monopoly and market dominance problem. We need alternative airlines for this lucrative route. With Air Zimbabwe going bust, people are at the mercy of the this terribly uncaring airline."

Zimbabweans also rounded on Airlink, noting the absence of contrition in their statement.

"And this is the lame explanation they offer without an apology to everyone who regards Bab' Dabengwa not only as a hero of Zimbabwe but of the Southern African liberation struggle?" asked Ayanda Dlodlo on Twitter.

"This was really shoddy. No, not shoddy - heartless!," said another Twitter user.

Dabengwa's body is now set to arrive in Bulawayo shortly before midday on Monday, and his burial is slated for Ntabazinduna on Saturday after he expressly stated he wished to be buried next to his ancestors.

Source - ZimLive