Family say funeral parlour scarred them for life after ‘horrible service’

Bishop I Makamu. Picture: Twitter

Bishop I Makamu. Picture: Twitter

Published Jul 2, 2024


A family from Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, have expressed their disappointment at what they called “horrible service” they allegedly received from iMakamu Funerals, which is owned by Bishop Israel Makamu of Endless Hope Bible Church together with his family.

The grieving Khambule family said they expected a dignified “send-off” for their father, uncle and loved one, but they were dismayed at how the service was handled from the onset.

The Khambule family shared pictures of a torn and dirty tent with dirty drapes. They also said the arrangement of the chairs in the main tent and at the gravesite left a lot to be desired.

The family said they have been part of iMakamu Funerals since last year and their policy was up to date. It was taken out by Ayanda Ngubeni, who is the youngest daughter of the late Piet “Skhulu” Khambule, who died on June 16 and was buried on June 22.

This was Ngubenis’ first time claiming and it is uncertain whether she will continue being part of the funeral service.

Family spokesperson Nomfanelo Khambule said they raised a complaint about a funeral arranger going by the name of “Sandiswa”, who they said was responsible for making sure they buried their loved one with dignity and without any problem, but they added that she caused them a scar for life.

“We, as a family, felt disrespected and taken for granted. From Friday, we did not even get a chance to grieve for my uncle, who was loved by his family, children, and the community at large.

“That Friday, we were up and down trying to get hold of Sandiswa because the tent was not there when my uncle’s body arrived at home. A tent has to be erected before the corpse arrives. But no, we had to call not just once but several times,” said Khambule.

She further said: “My cousin Ayanda is emotionally scarred for life. As a result, she won’t be continuing with iMakamu. And the sad part is, this was her first claim, but now she will have to start from scratch with new funeral parlours, of which I doubt she would trust.”

Khambule said the father and the daughter had a very strong bond.

“I remember when my uncle started to get sick, he was stubborn whenever he was supposed to go to the clinic. My mother would call his daughter (Ayanda) and she would come running because she was the only person that was able to get through to him. Malume didn’t deserve that kind of send-off.

“When my uncle was taken to the clinic on the same day, unfortunately he did not make it and my cousin was there to close his eyes along with her big brother. That’s when her trauma began,” Khambule said.

She then shared pictures and videos on social media platforms, Facebook and TikTok and their posts went viral.

Asked if the family raised a formal complaint, Khambule said they were taken from pillar to post, hence they resorted to social media.

Makamu’s legal representative, advocate Prince Mafu of Mawandla Law Chambers, on Tuesday told “The Star” that his client learnt about this on social media.

“It was difficult because the family did not approach the client to report the problem. No investigations of disciplinary can be carried because there is not formal complaint. The client was also burying his mother that weekend, he was not hands-on. We really don’t know how to react to this. We advise the client to go to the offices and report the matter. If the Bishop is not there, his wife can assist,” said Mafu.

He also highlighted the fact that the family posted on social media as it is difficult to understand whether it is a genuine complaint or negative forces.

Mafu said they understand the family is grieving and the company was supposed to offer excellent service.

“The client understands that the family needs closure, we are willing to sit down with them and when we have to apologise, do it,” Mafu said.

Khambule said it was not true that they had not laid a formal complaint. She said that is why the funeral arranger reached out. She also said from her Facebook post, one of the drivers from the company also apologised.

After seeing the images from the family, Funeral Industry Reformed Association (FIRA) chairperson Johan Rousseau said: ”The service was not dignified and not respectful.”

Rousseau further said there are unfortunately no standards in terms of the law, nor a funeral ombudsman to assist a complainant.

Makamu on Monday took to his Facebook page to express his love and appreciation for his mother.

“Oh mama, I’m taking one day at the time but it’s not easy … every quiet time I get tears running down my face, missing you hurts me hard. Can’t work, can’t move on. Listening to your voice notes daily telling me how much you love, hits difference in my heart. I have taken a month break from everything just to learn to accept that you’re no more.”

The Star

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