Woman snatches $300 coffin from funeral parlour

Woman snatches $300 coffin from  funeral parlour
Published: 07 January 2012 (1903 Views)
MZILIKAZI residents were treated to a free street movie when a woman stormed a funeral parlour in the area where her parents were members, grabbed and went away with an empty coffin, demanding unclaimed benefits for the late parents.

The incident, which has become the talk of Bulawayo's oldest suburb, occurred at African National Burial Society, which is situated in Mzilikazi on Thursday afternoon.

The place provides mortuary service and sells coffins.

The casket, which is worth about $300, is being kept at a church in the suburb, ready to be sold.

Ms Salome Machingura has been engaging the parlour for a long time since the death of her parents but the parlour has not been forthcoming.

When news crew visited Ms Machingura at her home in Mpopoma suburb, she confirmed that she took the coffin from the parlour as compensation for the contributions made by her parents.

"My father was a founder member of this association and has been making contributions since the 1980s. Surprisingly when he died in February last year he never received any benefit from the parlour.

"In April last year my mother died also and we never received any assistance from these people despite the fact that our account was up to date," said Ms Machingura.

"I have been visiting their offices time and again, sometimes making calls trying to reason with them but they were not forthcoming.

"I also made a report at Mzilikazi Police Station and approached lawyers to seek recourse but it all failed. I came back from South Africa last week and visited their office again only to be told that they do not have money."

Ms Machingura said the family was supposed to be given $300 that was meant to cover burial costs for both parents.

She said on Saturday the parlour only managed to give her $120 and there was no clarity on when she would get the balance.

"It is almost a year and these people are playing hide and seek. I am not amused by this behaviour and yesterday I went to the parlour with my brother Sipho and we took away the casket.

"The officials there tried to lock us inside but I slapped one of them and managed to get out. We hired a tax and took the coffin home. Since there is little space in the house we talked to our pastor and asked for permission to keep it at the church," said Ms Machingura

"I will not return the coffin until I recover our money. As it is I am looking for a prospective buyer and I am selling it for $300. They can go to the police or whoever but they will not get it back. I want to recover all the costs I incurred."

Ms Machingura took the news crew to the church where the coffin is kept. She accused the parlour of being dishonest and vowed to continue fighting until she was paid her late parents' full benefits.

Asked for comment, a senior official at the parlour identified as Ms Sithokozile Thebe acknowledged that there was a misunderstanding between the parlour and the Machingura family.

"We have a misunderstanding but I do not have problems with that. We work with the old people and we have never failed to assist them.

"The problem is that at the time of their father's death, he was was failing to make contributions. According to our records the last payment he made was $10 in February 2010," said Ms Thebe.

"We did not refuse to give them assistance but they came to us after the burial."

- Chronicle

Tags: funeral, parlour,
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