Eastern Cape resident Manono Sozombile is still reeling from the ordeal of reburying his sister-in-law who died of Covid-19 after an undertaker mistakenly delivered the wrong body for burial.
A shattered Sozombile – among several families in the province who have had to rebury relatives due to “a mix-up by funeral parlours” – described the experience as “unsettling and traumatic”.
Amid calls on Thrusday by the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) for government to relax regulations
on the viewing of bodies of victims of Covid-19, Sozombile said he “took it for granted that the body we were burying was that of
my sister-in-law Rosetta”.
“The family was under the impression it was her and that we were not allowed to view the body of someone who died of Covid-19.
Rosetta’s body had to be exhumed days after the funeral and be reburied.
“Having incurred over R30,000 in costs, covering an expensive casket, catering and transport, we had to redo the process.”
Sozombile said three days after the funeral he received a call from an Avbob Bizana branch manager informing him of “an unfortunate exchange of bodies”.
“They met the family to apologise and explain the process of exhuming the body. They repaid all our costs for the reburial. What
they failed to explain to us was how the mix-up happened.”
Avbob only noticed the wrong person had been buried when they could not find the body of the second deceased.
Despite coronavirus regulations allowing for viewing of the body at funeral parlours in line with health protocols, some undertakers do not let relatives view the body.
This has been slammed by traditional leaders.
Contralesa provincial chair Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana said they would petition government to relax rules on viewing of bodies “for people to perform their rituals”.