The Mowbray Muslim Cemetery. Picture: Supplied
The Mowbray Muslim Cemetery. Picture: Supplied

Outrage over R500 late burial fee at Muslim cemetery

By Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published Jan 14, 2021

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Cape Town - The Muslim Cemetery Board has stuck to its guns following outrage over the R500 late penalty fee it charges for Janazah at Mowbray Muslim Cemetery.

A video has gone viral on social media showing money being paid to a burial supervisor at the cemetery gate to have a body buried after the cemetery had been closed.

Community activist Armien Albertyn of the Shape political party, said the cost was put in place to rip off the poor.

“We as a community are gravely saddened by the video that went around where our Moslem brethren had to pay an extra R500 for being a half hour late, in these difficult times of lockdown and Covid. Now they want to kill the poor people financially. Also, where is the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) on this matter?

“One of the things that we looked at was that employees like your grave diggers must be paid overtime, which means that if they work overtime or on days that they are not supposed to work, then the appropriate remuneration must be accorded to staff.

“Because a funeral is coming 20 minutes later, it doesn’t mean that we are charging because of that. What it means is that staff members must be retained. If a funeral is late by 20 minutes, staff need to remain for the burial and clean up along with preparation to leave. Obviously, we pay them,” he said.

Another source said: “People are distraught. Mowbray cemetery is a long serving graveyard for the Muslim community. It is quite a historical graveyard to our people.”

In a statement on Wednesay, the MJC said although it consulted with and advised the Private Cemetery Boards, the pricing structures, operating hours and decisions made by these boards were not under its control.

“The Mowbray Cemetery Board had indicated in the past that the community disregards its operating times. This disregard and tardiness impact the gravediggers as they have set working hours. These delays result in the employees having to be paid overtime. These costs, if any, are determined by the Boards of the respective cemeteries,” said MJC’s second deputy president, Shaykh Riad Fataar.

Cape Times

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