A Bulawayo family was involved in a skirmish with Runyaradzo funeral parlour director Mr Dumisani Mutorera after he allegedly locked up their relative’s body following a row over a debt.
Runyaradzo funeral parlour is a newly established funeral services company that has created confusion among clients as it has colours and logos that are similar to renowned funeral company Nyaradzo Group.
The fallout, according to relatives of the dead man, arose after the funeral parlour suddenly increased the fee they had charged by almost 400 percent from $60 to $230.
Relatives of the late Mike Njoroma, who died in a traffic accident near Nkulumane Complex last week, spent the day at the funeral parlour’s offices in Kelvin North after Mutorera allegedly locked up the body and left.
They left with the body for their rural home in Shamva at 3AM yesterday after police intervention.
One of Njoroma’s relatives, Mr Peter Goredema said trouble started after the funeral parlour increased charges for their services just before they collected the body.
“We approached Runyaradzo funeral parlour to prepare the body for the trip and provide transport to Shamva. We were charged $60 for preparing the body and we agreed. We also agreed that we would leave for Shamva at 12 noon,” said Mr Goredema.
“They postponed the departure time to 3PM citing some challenges and we understood. At 3PM they failed to provide transport and we decided to look for alternative transport. We quickly secured alternative transport and asked the parlour to give us the body,” said Mr Goredema.
He added that the parlour officials demanded $230 instead of the initial $60 that had been charged for their services.
“We started arguing and reminded them that they had delayed us since 12PM but they wouldn’t understand. They insisted that we pay $230. The director locked up the body and abandoned us. He told us that no one had the right to teach him how to run his business. He also told us that we won’t win any war with him because he is well connected.
“We had to seek help from the police at Western Commonage police station. We negotiated the fee down to $195 and the body was released by his subordinates at about 3AM,” said Mr Goredema.
Runyaradzo sales manager, Ms Chipo Marara confirmed the altercation between the parlour and the bereaved family.
She, however, said trouble started when they discovered that the family was travelling to Shamva instead of Harare as earlier mentioned.
“They approached us saying they were going to Harare but when the burial order came, we realised that their relative would be buried in Shamva.
We asked them to top up for the extra 92km but they refused and demanded the body.
“We had no problem with them finding alternative transport but we wanted them to pay for the services rendered, which included removing the body from Mpilo Central Hospital to Kelvin, washing and embalming the body as well as handling services,” said Ms Marara, adding that the charge was $195.
She said they only released the body in the early hours if yesterday after the family paid the $195.