The Kunene family in Mpembeni, Kwahlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal, says government’s COVID-19 restrictions are violating cultural norms.
The family is upset after it buried a wrong body.
They learnt about the faux pas when their funeral parlour, Icebolethu, informed them a few days after they laid gogo Gumede, whom they thought was gogo Kunene, to rest.
Family spokesperson Mbongeleni Kunene is blaming the funeral parlour for this.
He says the undertaker only opened the coffin slightly and showed gogo Gumede’s face who had the same complexion as gogo Kunene. She was also wearing a hat similar to the one gogo Kunene had.
Kunene is worried that people will end up burying animals due to the COVID-19 regulations.
A spokesperson for the Gumede family says they realised that they were given a wrong body when they went to fetch their relative’s remains for burial.
They then alerted the undertaker to the mistake, who upon investigating established that gogo Gumede had actually been given to the Kunene family.
The funeral parlour at the centre of the controversy has meanwhile denied allegations that it did not allow the Kunene family a chance to view the body of their loved one.
Icobelethu spokesperson Nkosenhle Hlophe says refusing the family a fair chance to view their loved one’s remains would have been in violation of the law.
According to Hlophe, the law demands that families confirm the identity of their deceased relative.
However, he adds, they do this while they adhere to government’s COVID-19 regulations, which allow them to open the body bag for family viewing by one relative at a time – in the presence of a mortuary attendant who is wearing personal protective equipment.
However, the washing and preparing of the mortal remains by family members is not encouraged due to health risks.
Below pictures, show the exhumation of gogo Gumede’s body that had been buried.