News / South Africa / Local News

Yoshini Perumal
4 minute read
18 Oct 2017
5:02 pm

Wrong bodies cause pandemonium at funeral ceremony

Yoshini Perumal

The family says it is traumatised as they were unable to find closure due to the blunder.

Stock image

A Montford family were dealt a double blow when a funeral service provider sent the wrong body to their home in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal, Rising Sun Chatsworth reports.

While hundreds of mourners waited to bid farewell and pay their final respects to the 69-year-old man, who died of natural causes, a few family members discovered their loved one was already cremated by another family after they were sent the wrong body the previous day.

Kumaravelu Pillay’s relative, Tremmane Pillay, said their family is traumatised, and was unable to find closure regarding Pillay’s death, as they could not have a funeral or perform the last rights of their beloved uncle due to the blunder by the Mariannhill Funeral Services.

“We scheduled the funeral and a lot of relatives and friends gathered at our home to say goodbye to our uncle. When the hearse arrived, the pallbearers carried the casket into our home. After the pastor had completed the prayer, we opened the casket lid, and we were shocked to find that it was not the body of our uncle but a total stranger.”

“We immediately called for the funeral services to come back and sort out the confusion, however, they returned about half an hour later with a mortuary van and and took the casket away. When we enquired about why the correct body was not brought to us, we were told that the driver has been allocated to drive the vehicle to fetch the body and that they cannot answer any of our questions,” he claimed.

Pillay further claimed the staff at the funeral parlour did not assist them when they queried about the whereabouts of the body of their uncle.

“We were told that the only bodies which were in the mortuary were that of three females. We were confused as to what had happened to my uncle’s body. We realised that it could have been sent to another home and we had to demand to see the files with the notifications of death and came across a list of the bodies, which were cremated and due to be cremated over the weekend. When we found another address for a funeral in Montford, we proceeded to the home. We were told by the family that they had a funeral and they had cremated the body.”

READ MORE: One person shot and killed, two others injured at a Soweto funeral parlour

 “When we told them about the incident, they went to the funeral parlour where they found the body of their father lying on the tray where the bodies are bathed. They were as shocked as we were and tried to get answers from the funeral parlour to no avail,” he claimed.

While the Pillay family struggled to come to terms with loss of their uncle and the fact that they could not perform his last rites or have a funeral, as he had already been cremated, the body of 78-year-old Seenavasan Reddy was given to his family, who held an intimate ceremony and had his body cremated at the time slot which Pillay was supposed to be cremated.

Reddy’s family said they had queried as to why their father’s hair was shaved off and noticed that he looked different, but was too grief stricken to argue with or contest the funeral parlour representative who told them at the mortuary that they (staff) sometimes give the deceased a haircut to neaten their appearance prior to the funeral when the body is being bathed.

Meanwhile, representative of Mariannhill Funeral Services, Cliffy Pillay, said the Reddy family acknowledged that the body presented to them at the mortuary when they arrived to perform a ritual and drop off the clothing was not their father.

“About five people came to the mortuary and gave us the clothing. The morticians proceeded to bathe the body and they dressed the deceased. When the body was placed into the casket, they again acknowledged that everything was fine and proceeded with the funeral and cremation. It was only when the Pillay family noticed that it was the incorrect body which was delivered to their home, that the Reddy family realised that it wasn’t their relative,” he said.

Cliffy Pillay alleged that this was the first time in his 27 years of being in the funeral service industry that he had an experience of this nature.


One person shot and killed, two others injured at a Soweto funeral parlour

– Caxton News Service

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