No sign of cremator operators

2011-12-29 00:00

THERE was another monumental mess at Msunduzi Municipality.

Three bodies were left waiting to be cremated at Mountain Rise crematorium and there was no cremator operator on hand.

Two of the cremations had been double-booked and the cemetery manager was nowhere in sight

Grieving families were besides themselves and all attempts to get hold of an official of the municipality proved useless.

For Nash Jadoo, the director of Imbali Funeral services and chairperson of the National Funeral Directors’ Association, it was the last straw.

He was furious when he was told that a Msunduzi manager in charge of cemeteries, named Flora, refused to allow a subordinate to give him her cellphone number.

“We made the bookings for the cremations more than a day ago.

“All our documenations were in order only for us to arrive with the funeral cortege and find that not only was the cremator operator not there, no furnace prepared, and on top of all that the cemetery staff had double-booked two cremations.

“In the end we had to arrange for two of the cremations to be done in Durban,” he said.

Jadoo is to demand an inquiry and he wants heads to roll.

He said that for years they had to put up with cremators breaking down frequently.

Each time it happened there was a mess-up at Mountain Rise, and the undertakers would have to take bodies to Durban to be cremated at their own cost.

To add insult to injury, the muncipality hiked up cremation fees threefold since July.

It is understood that it used to cost R660 on weekdays for cremations and then it went up to R1 200 and to R1 368 over weekends.

Senior municipal manager Julie Dyer apologised profusely to the undertakers and the bereaved families.

She and acting manager for community services Kwenza Khumalo drove to the cemetery.

They found that the cemetery manager, Ziggy Mapanga, had left early.

There are two cremator operators; one had been given leave and the other called in sick yesterday.

Dyer said she had made her routine checks on the cemetery twice during the day and was never alerted by the manager to any problems.

Khumalo had to go to the home of an operator who previously worked at the cemetery and bring him in to conduct the cremations.

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