Police officer’s family distraught after another family buries him after funeral parlour mix up
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Durban - A man said his family were left angry and in despair when they discovered on the day of his father’s funeral that another family had already buried him three days prior due to a mix up at the funeral parlour.
Warrant Officer Samukeliso Edward Ndimande, 58, who was a member of the Public Order Police in Marrannhill, died last week Wednesday due to Covid-19.
His son, Moagi Ndimande, said his father’s funeral was arranged with Somana Dignified Funerals and was scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Ndimande said on the day of the funeral, he went to the funeral parlour and discovered that the notice on the casket that his family had chosen to bury his father in had the name of a different person.
He said he trusted his instinct and asked to identify the body and discovered that it was not his father.
“I was angry and shocked. It was also said that maybe I’m the one who can’t see properly, who cant identify him properly.”
Ndimande said he was accompanied by his father’s brother and another relative.
He said the funeral parlour, Somana Dignified Funerals, called the other family who they suspected was given his father’s body and they met at the parlour.
He said the other family came to the funeral parlour and identified the person in the coffin as their relative.
Ndimande said the other family had already had the funeral on Saturday. However, there was no proof that they had buried his father.
The family did not view or identify the body they buried, he said.
“So now, we are not sure because there is a possibility that they could have given the body to other people and not the family they suspect.”
Ndimande said his family had paid cash for the entire funeral and were halfway through proceedings.
He said they were waiting to hear from the funeral parlour on a way forward.
He said in his culture the family of the deceased speak to their ancestors to welcome and free the spirit of the person who has passed on.
“Once you bury the wrong, body you find that there is a big mess. It means the spirit is not free. It’s not where it is supposed to be.”
He said it must also be difficult for the other family who has already spoken to their ancestors only to discover that it was the wrong person.
Ndimande said the situation had a bad impact on his mother, who is chronically ill.
“My father was a humble person, a person everyone knew, and he was very helpful in the community.”
He said the people who came to the family home for the funeral were not given an opportunity to pay their respects and send his father off in the manner that he deserved.
The owner of Somana Dignified Funerals, who requested not to be named, said dealing with funerals during the Covid-19 pandemic had been very difficult.
“We can’t see, and the families can’t view the bodies and the people working at the mortuary were also scared and not allowed to open the bag,” she said.
The owner said she spoke to her lawyer on Tuesday about bringing an application to the high court to have the body exhumed and for advice on a way forward.
“We want to give the body to the correct family,” she said.
She said she was waiting to hear from her lawyer and that nothing would be resolved until she received feedback.
The other family did not respond to a request for comment.
The incident comes after The Mercury’ sister newspaper Daily News reported that an Umkomaas family said a funeral parlour had delivered the wrong body to their father’s funeral service.
The family were still waiting for the body of their loved one to be traced by that funeral parlour.