Mother in battle with funeral parlour

Annie Mandinda said she is sad that she has to fight with a funeral palour to get the body of her son so that she can bury him.

Khayelitsha mother, Annie Mandinda, is embroiled in a seemingly endless fight with a local burial service which she accuses of refusing to release the body of her late son, Mzukiseni Gogodla, who died almost five months ago. The owner of the funeral parlour, however, denies Ms Mandinda’s version of events.

She alleges that Maboyana funeral service parlour is demanding
R13 800 for the costs of keeping the body and conducting a funeral service. However, she claims they took the body of her son from the government mortuary without her go-ahead.

According to Ms Mandinda, the owner of the parlour had met her children at hospital where they were completing paperwork related to her deceased son, and had convinced them that his company would be able to bury their brother at a relatively cheap price.

She said her children agreed and the owner of the parlour paid R1 300 to have a DNA test done so that the body could be released. The test was required because her son’s body had been badly damaged when he was electrocuted by illegally connected electricity cables at the beginning of March. When she tried to contact the man to discuss funeral arrangements, she said, she was unable to get hold of him. But then he sent the family a quote for his services.

“Losing your child is excruciating. Now having to fight to bury your child adds more agony. I can’t even sleep at night as I constantly think about this. I can’t even eat.

“This losing fight that I find myself in is a harsh reminder of the death of my son. This is truly one of the worst times in my life,” she said.

Owner of Maboyana funeral service, Prince Maboyana, expressed his shock and disblief when asked about the allegations levelled against his company.

Mr Maboyana claims he had been contacted by the brother of the deceased to inform him about his death and asked to assist with the burial.

Mr Maboyana said he had been called to a family meeting, which Ms Mandinda had not attended, to discuss funeral arrangements.

But, he said, he asked to be given her contact details so that he could speak to her and claims that Ms Mandinda had only made contact with him in May.

“I paid R1300 for her child’s DNA test. How can you only make contact with someone who has your child two months after he died. I have never met her and I have tried to have a meeting with her but my efforts were fruitless,” he told Vukani.

“I have been in this business since 2006. I’m not a crook and I have assisted families that had nothing. I’m in contact with her son and she must please tell the truth before she runs to the media,” he said.

Community leader, Magareth Sigonyela, said she had brought the matter to the media in the hope that someone would help the family.