Wrong ashes cause fam­ily trauma


A GRIEV­ING North­dale fam­ily plans to sue the Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity af­ter staff at the Moun­tain Rise Cre­ma­to­rium al­legedly gave them the wrong ashes, and then tried to cover up their mis­take.

Peru­mal Ra­jen Naidoo, 53, died on May 25 fol­low­ing a short ill­ness. His be­reaved wife, Rumba Pil­lay, and son, Sherwin Naidoo, held his funeral and cre­ma­tion on May 28.

The mix-up was dis­cov­ered the next day, af­ter the ashes were buried.

“Re­ceiv­ing my father’s ashes was a very emo­tional mo­ment for me be­cause it was my time to say good­bye to him. I pro­ceeded to the grave­yard to bury my father’s ashes and have our pas­tor pray over him in or­der for his soul to find rest,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo said the next day his mother re­ceived a call from the cre­ma­to­rium in­form­ing her that they were given the wrong ashes.

“My mother was in shock. She told the staff mem­ber we had al­ready buried the re­mains. The staff mem­ber then ended the call and phoned back min­utes later to say we were not given the wrong ashes but the wrong re­ceipt and we needed to re­turn it.”

An­gry, Naidoo said he did not have a re­ceipt but re­mem­bered a piece of pa­per was in­side the box he had buried.

“We went back to grave­yard, dug out the box to check the re­ceipt and found an­other man’s name on it. We started to feel sick to our stom­achs re­al­is­ing that it was, in fact, the wrong ashes.”

Naidoo said he handed the box back to the staff and they were adamant the mix up was only with the names and not the ac­tual re­mains.

“I re­fused to take the ashes back as I was not sure if it was my father’s or not. Later that af­ter­noon we were in­formed by the ceme­tery that they had the ashes with my father’s name on it and we must fetch it, but again I re­fused.”

Naidoo said he was not pre­pared to take the box un­til the mu­nic­i­pal­ity pro­vide proof of whose ashes were in it.

“This whole ex­pe­ri­ence has been very traumatic.”

Naidoo said this has left his mother sick.

“Her health is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. We have sought help from an at­tor­ney and in­tend on tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.”

Act­ing Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity spokesper­son Nto­beko Ng­cobo said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter was un­der way.

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