‘I lost R10 000 for R30’

2016-04-07 06:00
 Disappointed member of the Isikhumbuzo Funeral Services Nocawe Luzipho says she wants her money.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Disappointed member of the Isikhumbuzo Funeral Services Nocawe Luzipho says she wants her money. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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A Nyanga East woman has learned the hard way that belonging to a burial society does not always guarantee many happy returns and a peaceful service for one’s dearly departed.

Nocawe Luzipho joined Isikhumbuzo Funeral Services in 2013, and amongst her beneficiaries was her brother Sonwabo.

The society is headed by one Lulamile Phindiso who is based in Du Noon.

When Sonwabo,39, passed away in January this year, Nocawe said she duly approached the burial society for a claim and pay-out, so she can bury her brother. It was not to be. Instead the society refused to process her claim, because she owed them R30 on outstanding bank charges.

Nocawe (43) said since joining the company in 2013, she has never defaulted on premiums, and was shocked when Isikhumbuzo refused to bury her brother.

“When my brother passed away after falling out of his bed, it was painful and confusing but I found solace in the fact that we had a funeral insurance.

I then visited their offices in Du Noon to submit papers for a claim. I was shocked when I was informed that I had defaulted and they were not going to help me out,” she said, sobbing.

She was told she owed an amount of R30 for bank charges as part of her premium of R150 and therefore the association wouldn’t pay her out her lump sum of R10 000.

“I was so confused because this was never properly communicated with me. They told me that I needed to have paid R30 for bank charges.”

But Nocawe said she remembers the issue being raised in a meeting held in Nyanga last year, although there was no consent from the general meeting to the proposal.

“Many people were not happy with the way things were done regarding this issue.”

Her lapse has cost her dearly. She claims there was no written communication to members. It has also come to light that apart from the premuims, a member looses benefits if the had not paid up an annual fee of about R250.

However, Phindiso is adamant that his organisation has done nothing wrong by refusing to pay Nocawe.

“We have had countless meetings with our members regarding this R30 fee and by now 95% of our members are aware of the arrangement.

"She knew about this, but chose to ignore it. We feel that this is very unfair to other members who are forking out that money while others are not.

"In fact, the fee is a last resort as we had asked our members if we could debit that money from their bank accounts as there is no charge for this. Many of our members agreed to this(debit),” said Phindiso.

Meanwhile, Nocawe said her family had to make loans in order to bury her sibling.

“I had to borrow R5000 from a neighbour and my siblings also had to take loans.

“The R10 000 could have gone a long way towards the costs of the funeral.”

“What irks me most is that I have never failed to pay and an extra R30 wouldn’t have been a problem for me.

She said once she went to the society’s offices for updates, but was never informed that she owed them money, even if it was a small amount.

Phindiso said she would never receive any payment from them.

Nocawe has threatened to go to court.


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