KZN family furious after woman’s body sent to father’s funeral
Durban - An Umkomaas family say they are devastated and furious after a funeral parlour delivered the wrong body to their father’s funeral service.
The family of Robert Mthethwa said that he had died at GJ Crookes hospital due to natural causes on January 9.
However, it was revealed that Mthethwa had tested positive for Covid-19.
Due to the mortuary operating at full capacity and the 75-year-old being a Ncanda Funerals member, his body was stored in the funeral parlour’s mortuary.
Mthethwa’s eldest daughter, Khethiwe Mpanza, said arrangements were made for the burial of her father on Thursday, January 14, but due to the funeral parlour being fully booked, the funeral was rescheduled for the following day.
On the day of the funeral, Mpanza said that she and her family harboured suspicions when a similar, but smaller coffin was delivered to the cemetery during proceedings.
Despite being classified as a Covid-19 burial, Mpanza said that the coffin was not covered in plastic.
Mpanza said that it was the family’s wish to give her father a proper send-off and they wanted to dress him up for the occasion, only to discover the body of a woman in her thirties inside the casket.
Speaking to Daily News, Mpanza said that she was devastated by this.
“They brought the wrong body to my father’s funeral. How can you confuse the body of a woman in her thirties with that of a man in his seventies? We are not okay. We don’t know what do and this adds more grief on top of the loss of our father,” Mpanza said.
“We have gone through all the rituals for when a loved one passes on, and what weighs most heavily on us is how our father’s spirit cannot be at peace because we have performed all the rites but have not been able to bury him.”
Ncanda Funerals has multiple branches and Mpanza fears that her father’s body might already have been buried at any of the other funerals held on Thursday.
“We need answers. They need to bring back our father’s body because this is not right. We need to bury the right person so we and our father’s spirit can be at peace.”
Mthethwa’s younger daughter, Nkule Mthethwa, said that it was agonising to find that her father’s body was still unaccounted for despite assurances from the owner of the funeral firm, Pastor Ncanda.
“I don’t know how to feel at the moment, it’s just really painful. We have been in contact with the funeral firm and been reassured that they are on top of the search, but we haven’t received any news since Saturday,” Mthethwa said.
“What’s puzzling is that they said they put Covid-19 related deaths in a particular place so there shouldn’t be a mix-up. The woman’s coffin arrived here without plastic, so it does not make sense how there could be any mistakes.
’’What they have done is reckless and we are fearful that my father’s body will not be recovered because it could be anywhere.”
The Daily News attempted to make contact with Ncanda Funerals through their office number, cellphone number and WhatsApp, but they could not be reached.