A BEREAVED family missed the chance to bid farewell to their son, Simon Mfaniseni Nyuswa who died two weeks ago in Ocean View. The deceased was buried without his family’s presence.
Devastated family members, who could not afford the funeral, arrived at the cemetery to find the burial had already taken place.
“When we got there they were finishing up,” said a family member, Syble Gambushe.
The deceased’s brother, Jerome Mzobe who got to the cemetery first, said the men were busy lowering the coffin. Mzobe asked them to wait as the rest of the family were on their way. “They ignored me and continued with their work,” said Mzobe.
According to Gambushe one of the men said: “We are in a hurry to have lunch.”
“We did not have a chance to say goodbye,” said an angry Gambushe. “There is no guarantee that it is Mfaniseni they buried.”
Community development worker Ntomboxolo Makwetu said she did everything she could to prevent this from happening.
Makwetu said: “This was not the first time a family had suffered such an incident.”
According to Makwetu the man who buried the deceased was in a hurry to have his lunch. “Right after he was done he stood next to his vehicle and read his newspaper,” she added.
Municipal communications officer Mfundo Sobele said the family could not expect to perform a proper funeral. “This kind of service is called a ‘pauper burial’ where the municipality contracts a funeral service provider to bury the deceased,” he said.
Sobele added that the municipality does alert the family of the time of the burial.
Sobele said the Mzobes were advised of the time, and two of the deceased’s brothers came to the cemetery, but left to fetch the rest of the family. “Unfortunately the process [burial] had been completed by the time they got back,” said Sobele.
Gambushe lashed out at the way the funeral was handled.
“He was buried like a dog when there is a family which is mourning him.
“I know we are a poor family who can’t afford a funeral, but we did not deserve any of this, especially his mother,” she said.
The family does not have the deceased’s death certificate.
Family member Wiseman Linche tried getting the certificate but was unsuccessful.
“I went to the police to get an affidavit stating that I am applying for the death certificate of the late Nyuswa,” Linche said.
The affidavit did not help as Home Affairs required documents from the funeral parlour.
Linche alleges he was turned away and told they (the undertakers) were dealing with the municipality. According to Linche they said it did not matter if he did not have the certificate.
Sobele said the family is entitled to the deceased’s death certificate and the death needs to be recorded. He also said he will consult the various departments to look into the matter.