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No money, no corpse

Mortuary accused of withholding corpse demanding upfront payment

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Diggies Funeral Services INSET: Koobonye

Diggies Funeral Services in Letlhakeng village has been accused of recently withholding a corpse as collateral after the deceased’s family failed to pay for their services.

The Mosekiemang family in Salajwe were relieved last week as they finally buried their grandmother after the Social Welfare office, where 93-year-old Gabailwe Mosekiemang had been registered as a destitute, offered to cover the costs for the funeral parlour.

Speaking to this publication about the ordeal they had to endure while in mourning, the family told of how they approached the nearby Diggies Funeral Services in Letlhakeng seeking overnight shelter for the corpse while making arrangements to transport it to Lyn’s Funeral Parlour in Molepolole where the deceased had a funeral policy.

“We had brought her to Letlhakeng Clinic for death certification and went straight to Diggies where they agreed to temporarily keep the corpse for us,” The deceased’s daughter-in-law, Ipoleleng Koobonye said, adding that upon arrival the hearse drove to the back of the mortuary where employees off-loaded the corpse.

“When the administration officer at the reception told us that they did not have a good working relationship with Lyn’s, we requested that they allow us to take back the corpse but she refused saying we could have long told her as they had already bathed the deceased. We then apologised and asked about the charges for a day. She assured us that it would not exceed P1000, but she promised to call us later after confirming the charges with the mortuary owner. But she never did,” said the disappointed Koobonye.

On Friday morning when the family went to collect the corpse, they were shocked when Keboeletse told them that the cost for the services was P6000.00.

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The family, together with their Chief, Wetsho Gobusang and Councillor Sebutlenyane tried in vain to negotiate with the management for a lower charge.

The family say they had no option but to return to Salajwe as the mortuary could not give them the corpse without payment.

When contacted for comment, Diggies owner Mmapitso Nseula said she charged the same rate as Lyn’s.

“I was recently charged by Lyn’s P8000.00 just for keeping the dead body at their facility for three days, so I charge the same prices. They go to Lyn’s for insurance packages and if they were just individuals not for packages, I was going to charge them about P3 500. How can they bring the corpse and not ask about the services,” Nseula wondered and added that they could have waited for Lyn’s to collect the corpse.

Nseula said they charged P5000.00 for preparation of the body which included bathing and P1000.00 a day for accommodation. “I was informed someone would pay but they were supposed to pay before we released the corpse. They were lucky I was away when they collected the corpse. Had I been there I would have made sure they paid up before getting the corpse. I do not know who authorised the release of the corpse. It means somebody is now going beyond controlling my business,” concluded Nseula.

Councillor Sebutlenyane said it was fortunate for the family that the council was going to cover the costs.

Mosekiemang’s lifeless body was later taken away from Diggies to Lyn’s on a Saturday and she was buried in Salajwe last Thursday morning.

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