Cape Town - A Cape Town family nearly buried a stranger when their undertaker brought the wrong body to a funeral.
The Galant family had been arranging the funeral of 58-year-old Magdalene Galant, their beloved mother and granny.
She died on January 26, shortly after suffering a heart attack.
Her death turned into a double tragedy for the Hanover Park family when undertakers delivered the wrong body and insisted it was Magdalene.
A distraught Michael Galant said he knew something was wrong when he opened the coffin before the church service.
“I opened my wife’s casket and she didn’t look right. I immediately knew something was wrong,” he said.
The grieving Hanover Park father said when everyone else became suspicious his worst fears were confirmed.
Michael said: “My daughter came to me and said, ‘that’s not mommy’, and then I knew this was a big mistake.”
The family said they then approached the undertaker.
Magdalene’s daughter Leota Lakay said the undertakers from Morning Star Funeral Services couldn’t explain the body swap.
She said: “First they told us it is my mommy. But I said to them it’s not her.
“Then they said they pulled out the wrong drawer at the morgue.”
The Galant family say they tried to stop the funeral service but the undertakers convinced them to go ahead.
People continued to pack into the PPK Church in Hanover Park to pay their last respects to Magdalene, but soon word spread that it wasn’t her in the coffin.
“This was very traumatic for all of us. All we wanted to do was honour my wife and then this happened,” said Michael.
After the funeral service, the undertakers escorted the family to the mortuary in the Airport Industrial area.
Family friend Fatima Karriem said everyone was emotional.
“When we got to the mortuary they showed us that Magdalene was still there and they had given us the wrong person to bury. We were all just so shocked,” she said.
The Morning Star funeral directors apologised to the Galants and promised to help them arrange a second funeral.
A distraught Michael said he is meeting with them to finalise funeral details for a second time.
Leota added: “We didn’t know what to do. We had the wrong body at the church and my mommy was still at the morgue, everyone was very confused.”
Morning Star Funeral Directors refused to comment when the Daily Voice called them.
The undertakers said they want to meet with the Galants again to discuss the situation.