Burial chair steps in over body ‘ransom’

Funeral parlour charges R4,500 to store a child’s remains for 48 hrs

Border-Kei chair of the South African Funeral Practitioners’ Association intervened to stop a local funeral parlour from holding a mourning Egoli family to ransom over the body of their 11-year-old son.
Border-Kei chair of the South African Funeral Practitioners’ Association intervened to stop a local funeral parlour from holding a mourning Egoli family to ransom over the body of their 11-year-old son.
Image: 123RF/ jhandersen

The Border-Kei chair of the South African Funeral Practitioners’ Association intervened to stop a local funeral parlour from holding a mourning Egoli family to ransom over the body of their 11-year-old son.

Ken Mazomba said drastic measures had to be taken to get Jubilee Funeral Parlour to release the body of Renino Kennedy after the parlour refused to let his remains go until they were paid R4,500 for keeping his body at their mortuary for 48 hours.

Renino died last Thursday after he was electrocuted by izinyoka connections in a bushy stream in Egoli.

Jubilee Funeral Parlour owner Renae Morrison demanded she be paid the R4,500 for her “hard work” after the family told her they would no longer be using her parlour to bury the boy.

The boy’s aunt Sandy Canham said the family had been at wits end over Morrison’s refusal to give the body back. She told the Dispatch Morrison had approached the family and offered to bury Kennedy for free last week. But when the family terminated their agreement with Jubilee, opting to move to Integrity Funeral Homes instead, Morrison changed her mind and charged them.

Canham said: “They handled us so unprofessionally and when we confronted them about their poor service they gave excuses that they are new in the field and are learning.

“When we cancelled, she [Morrison] didn’t want to release the body, saying she had done so much for us but she couldn’t even point out what it was she had done.

“She really made it long and unnecessarily painful for us.”

When contacted for comment Morrison said: “Are you a businesswoman? I have a right to claim my costs for all the work I’ve done. I did not offer to bury the child for free. The family approached me and I thought we would just hold the family’s hand through this."

The body was eventually released on Thursday afternoon after Mazomba instructed Morrison to let it go. He said rates for storing a body in a mortuary ranged from R100 to R300 per day, while transporting a body locally cost R1,200 during the day and R1,600 after 5pm.

“Even with other costs there is no way Morrison could charge that amount.”

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