A Kimberley family was shocked to find the contents of a family member’s coffin exposed at his grave at the West End Cemetery.
A KIMBERLEY family was shocked to find the contents of a family member’s coffin exposed at his grave at the West End Cemetery.
The family buried Derick Doman in August 2021 through a reopening process. He was buried on top of his wife who died of cancer nine years ago.
The family now wants answers as to who is responsible for the maintenance of the grave.
They also accused Sol Plaatje Local Municipality of putting them through more trauma after they had to go through a traumatic experience on the day of the funeral.
Doman, who was described as a big man, died as a result of a Covid-19-related illness.
The family had to arrange for the grave to be extended due to the size of his body.
Due to miscommunication between the family, the municipality and the undertaker, the grave was not adjusted to the appropriate size. A special Dome coffin had to be ordered to fit the body.
The family only realised this when the coffin was supposed to be lowered into the grave.
The mourning family had to extend the grave, digging for hours before they could finally lay Doman to rest.
According to the family, there were no municipal workers on site to assist and while they were busy struggling to fit the coffin into the grave, the lid slid open.
The children at the funeral were taken for counselling following the traumatic incident.
After the funeral, the funeral parlour offered to exhume the body and re-bury it in another grave at a cost. The family could not take up the offer due to their poor financial state.
The family said they have not been noticing the condition of the grave because they only go and put flowers on it during special days.
“We went there on Father’s Day and saw a hole but did not take it seriously. We went there again last week Sunday and saw more holes, with the blue cloth that covered the body exposed,” said one of the family members.
The family said they have engaged with their ward councillor but there is no hope of getting straight answers.
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet said it is the family’s responsibility to take care of their graves.
“We only dig the graves. The family must ensure maintenance of their own graves,” said Riet.