Mchunu Funeral Services is at loggerheads with the uThukela Municipality over the body, which has been lying in his mortuary since 2014.
Her body has been in the mortuary for four years. Now funeral parlour owner Siphiwe Mchunu from Ladysmith, northern KZN, wants over R1 million to release it!
The identity of the dead woman is unknown. The woman was expected to get a pauper’s burial because her family couldn’t be traced. But Siphiwe said he was not prepared to release the body unless he was paid for his expenses, which he claimed amounted to a little more than R1 million.
He wanted to be paid for storage and for chemicals used to prevent the body from rotting. He said the woman had been living in a shack with her boyfriend, and they were both ill. “After the woman died her boyfriend arranged for her body to be kept here,” he said. “He promised to come back the following day to make funeral arrangements but died the same night.”
The boyfriend’s family had claimed they did not know the woman. Siphiwe said police issued a declaration order that there was no further investigation after failing to find relatives.
KZN DA leader Zwakele Mncwango visited the funeral parlour yesterday. He said they were intervening to make government accountable. “Although the municipality is still to give us its side of the story, nothing will justify keeping a body in a mortuary for four years,” said Mncwango.
Municipal manager Sifiso Kunene said the municipality did not pay for the burial because the funeral parlour did not follow procedure.
“Paupers are usually found at government mortuaries, not at privately owned funeral parlours,” Kunene told the People’s Paper. “We have no idea how the woman’s body ended up in the funeral parlour.”
Source: Daily Sun