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Grieving family buries stranger after mix-up at morgue

Two grief-stricken families were left traumatised following a mix up of bodies at a local funeral parlour in Bulawayo resulting in one of the families mistakenly burying a stranger.

This follows the passing on of Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Bhekilizwe Mpofu on Thursday and Friday respectively and Falakhe Funeral Parlour collected both bodies.

CITE gathered that Mpofu’s family mistakenly collected Ndlovu’s body on Monday and proceeded to Brunapeg in Plumtree for the burial.

They were only alerted that they had collected the wrong body after they had finished the burial service.

The error was discovered after Ndlovu’s family went to the parlour to collect his remains and received the shock of their lives when they could not locate the body.

Investigations were done by the parlour which discovered that there was a mix-up of bodies.

A source close to Bhekilizwe’s family told CITE that the body was identified by an uncle to the deceased.

“We only know that the body was dressed at the parlour, so the person who was there during that process was the uncle to the deceased, he was very close to the deceased and he was overwhelmed with grief and he asked the funeral parlour attendants to assist him,” said the source.

“After they were done with that process, they then took the body to rural Plumtree, when they were done with the burial processes, that is when they received a call that they had buried a wrong body.” 

Falakhe Funeral Parlour finance manager Eugine Ncube said the parlour had followed all the proper procedures before releasing the body.

“We have a procedure that we follow as a parlour, from the time when we collect the body at the hospital. When a family loses a loved one, they call a parlour then we respond to where ever they will be, the family will be there at the hospital and when they won’t be around, they then refer us to that hospital and then we take the body and bring it here,” said Ncube.

“It is identified before they leave the hospital and then when they get here, we put the deceased in the refrigerator, after that they go to the bathing room, the family will be there during that process before the body is bathed a family representative is called. In this case, there were four family members who were called to identify the body.”

Ncube also showed the reporter the document where Bhekilizwe’s family signed off the body which they claimed was theirs after going through all the parlour’s procedures.

“We rely on the family to say this is our person, four family members came to identify this body and even at church we allowed 30 people to identify that body so all those 30 people couldn’t identify the body, they all claim that they saw the face identical to Bhekilizwe.”

Ncube said they have started a process of exhuming the body

“We did everything, we applied to the DA’s office, registrar office to allow the processes of exhumation to take place, we sorted everything out, they are going to bury their loved ones.”

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