Family prepare to say their last goodbyes

Logan Herman, 20, from Beacon Valley, remembers her daughter Lurean, 5, who died more than a month ago. Pictured with her is community worker Mariam Mohamed.

Five-year-old Lurean Herman who died in a fire more than a month ago (“Mother mourns toddler, 5, who died in fire”, Plainsman, November 2) is due to be cremated on Saturday December 3.

She was asleep when her grandmother Belinda Herman’s wendy house, in Metropolitan Street, Beacon Valley, caught fire at 3.48am on Saturday October 29.

Lurean was burned beyond recognition and a private DNA test was done to confirm her identity.

This test was paid for by the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management and Mayor Patricia de Lille is covering the cost of the funeral at El Shadai Church, in Beacon Valley, on Saturday December 3 at 9am.

Her mother Logan Herman, 20, told the Plainsman on Friday November 25 that she misses her daughter terribly.

She said her only consolation is Lurean’s three-year-old brother Malachi, who asks daily for his sister “Layan”. “He cannot say ‘R’ just like she could not say ‘R’,” she said. Ms Herman has a photograph of Lurean at her bedside, which Malachi makes her kiss when he sees her looking sad.

She showed the Plainsman life insurance application forms, which she had filed a few months ago, permitting money to be deducted from her South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) account but was unable to claim.

Ms Herman said at the time she was relieved to know that at least she had this policy but when attempting to claim she was told that she is not registered.

The form has the logos of Lion of Africa and Emerald Life, and Ms Herman’s fingerprint permitting them to deduct money from her Sassa account.

However, Paul Myeza, chief executive officer of Lion of Africa Life Assurance, said there was no record of a policy having been taken out by Ms Herman.

Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 79 who is helping the family with the funeral arrangements, sent enquiries to Sassa and its service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), who sent a statement proving that no payments were made to the insurance companies but instead fraudulent loans were made, on Ms Herman’s behalf.

A print-out from CPS shows that money was taken out by the “alleged service provider” but different amounts, more than a policy is registered for.

Mr Myeza said as a long-term insurance company Lion Life was not a licensed credit provider, was not permitted to grant loans and did not do so.

“Lion Life is therefore not in a position to discuss the issue of loans made against social grants,” he said.

Ms Herman is therefore not a policy holder and thus there is no claim.

“I was however, very saddened to hear of the circumstances in which the child passed away. We would like to assist the family in this sad time and if the family makes contact with my office directly we will assist with a donation,” Mr Myeza said.

At the time of going to print Sassa and Emerald Life had not yet responded to questions sent by the Plainsman.