THEY WERE about to leave for the cemetery when the pastor suggested they open the coffin to ensure they were burying the right body.
But people fled in all directions out of shock when the coffin was opened.
This is because Sonwabile Babalwa Masumpa (27) was bald when he died, but the body in the coffin had dreadlocks.
As if that wasn’t enough, the body was that of a woman!
This was too much for mourners and the family and the funeral had to be stopped.
The angry family from Ramaphosa near Reiger Park then went back to the SA Funeral Parlour in Germiston to demand the body of their loved one.
At the mortuary, Sonwabile’s body had the wrong name tag on it. The body had the name tag Elvis Sithole and was destined for Vosloorus.
“I was mad and ripped off the tag. The body was dirty and not prepared for the funeral,” said Claudette, Sonwabile’s sister.
“He was just put in the coffin and we’re not even sure if they conducted a post-mortem because the body was still wrapped in the same body bag.”
She said workers at the mortuary put the body in a coffin without bathing it.
“We felt disrespected and undermined by the mortuary. We thank the pastor, otherwise we could have buried the wrong body.”
Claudette said even though her brother didn’t die of Covid-19, they didn’t want to touch the body as they feared it might have been infected in the mortuary.
“We don’t know how they store bodies in that mortuary. We feared washing the body and end up getting infected,” she said.
What worried her was that they’d earlier performed rituals on the wrong body.
“We don’t know what might happen in the future,” she said.
Neighbours Amanda Jokazi and Shirley Mabaane said what the mortuary did was shoddy work.
“They didn’t even apologise to the family. What they did was annoying,” they said.
The owner of SA Funeral Parlour, who is only identified as Clive, said the body mix-up was caused by human error.
He said the driver was new. “I don’t know what this family is trying to achieve. I gave them a discount. You can write whatever you like,” he said. The family sent Daily Sun a video in which the driver could be seen handling the body without gloves.
In the video, Claudette can be heard demanding for family to see the body after the parlour had earlier sent them a wrong body of a dreadlocked lady. The driver is even reprimanded by the pastor.
Asked about this, Clive said he only used gloves on Covid-19 bodies and if the person did not die of Covid-19 his workers used their bare hands.
Johan Rousseau of the Funeral Industry Reformed Association said: “We ask the public to engage with us as there’s no ombudsman regulating the funeral industry.”