File picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Mourning families from Pietermaritzburg are opting to cremate their loved ones in Durban after recent delays in the cremation processes left some families traumatised by the treatment of their dead.

Last week three families were left outraged after the Mountain Rise crematorium broke down for seven hours, leaving one body partially burnt and two other bodies decomposing, while loved ones waited in the cemetery.

Local funeral undertakers said that since that incident they had noticed more families were requesting to have the cremations done at Clare Estate crematorium or other crematoriums in Durban.

One undertaker, who asked not to be named, said that shortly after the Pietermaritzburg incinerators broke down, he suggested families rather take their loved ones elsewhere for their final rites.

“The problems with the Mountain Rise crematorium are not new. It happens often and we witness how traumatised the families are when it happens. The incident recently was horrible and we would never want that for our own families,” he said.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha gave assurances that incinerators were in full working order and only experienced a glitch due to load shedding. Mafumbatha said grieving families should make use of the Pietermaritzburg crematoriums as there was no reason to go elsewhere.

“Unfortunately the incident on that Sunday was beyond our control. The decision to cremate their loved ones in Durban does come down to the families but the Mountain Rise crematorium is in full working condition and can be used,” she added.

Mafumbatha said the incinerators were serviced regularly, and since last week's incident there had been no other incidents.

Kresen Govender said his family were one of many who chose to travel to Durban to cremate a relative.

Govender said that after he read newspaper reports on the recent incidents at Mountain Rise crematorium, he was wary of using it for his own family.

“My uncle died during the week and the family took the decision to cremate his body in Clare Estate. Although it was an extra cost, we did not want his final rites to be marred by the drama at Mountain Rise,” he said.

Govender said that the state of affairs at the Mountain Rise crematorium was worrying for the community, as it was the only crematorium in the area that catered for locals.

He said that, previously, their family were also victims of broken incinerators, when his mother's cremation had to be delayed by a day in 2015.

The Mercury