'No urgency in cremation row'

'No urgency in cremation row'
Published: 12 February 2019 (143 Views)
A HIGH Court judge has ruled that the application by a Bulawayo family seeking a court order blocking the cremation of the remains of their relative was not urgent.

Mr Amos Nkomo died on December 31 and his body has been stuck at Farley Funeral Services parlour in Bulawayo due to family squabbles. His surviving spouse and daughter are demanding cremation while other members are opposed saying it is alien to their culture.

The surviving spouse, Mrs Margaret Nkomo and her daughter Melisa, both of Newton West suburb, wanted the remains of the deceased to be cremated while other family members led by the deceased's sister Mrs Eva Zulu were opposed to cremation, arguing that the practice was foreign to their culture.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo follows an urgent chamber application filed by Mrs Zulu (nee Nkomo), through her lawyers Coghlan and Welsh Legal Practitioners, citing Mrs Nkomo, her daughter Melisa and Farley Funeral Services as respondents.

In dismissing the application, Justice Moyo ruled that there was no justification for the matter to jump the queue. She said the applicants failed to show any risk of irreparable harm.

"I decline to hear this matter on the basis of urgency for the reasons that it is not. The deceased died on December 31, 2018 and it's more than a month now and that is not the urgency envisaged in the rules because the applicants did nothing. There is no justification for this matter to jump the queue," she said.

Justice Moyo also queried the irreparable harm likely to be suffered by the applicants as a result of cremation of the deceased. She blasted the applicants for meddling into the affairs of their brother's family.

"It appears applicants just want to meddle into the affairs of their brother's household and they can therefore not suggest any prejudice or harm that is irreparable. They keep on saying there will be prejudice if deceased is cremated if it turns out that those were not his wishes. How will it turn out? How will deceased's other wishes ever be known since he is dead?" asked the judge.

In her application, Mrs Zulu wanted an interim order interdicting the respondents from cremating her brother's remains pending the finalisation of the matter. In her founding affidavit, she said the broader family was opposed to the cremation of Mr Nkomo's remains, arguing that it is against their cultural beliefs.

"I am a blood sister of the late Amos Nkomo who died intestate at Bulawayo on December 31, 2018. I have locus standi and a clear right to approach this Honourable Court on behalf of our broader family as we are equally grieving the death of our brother. The first and second respondents (Mrs Nkomo and Melisa) intend to cremate the deceased, an act we as a family consider wrong and alien to our cultural beliefs," she said.

Since the death of Mr Nkomo, the family has been locked in a protracted dispute for burial rights resulting in accumulation of mortuary storage fees. Mrs Zulu said efforts to reach a compromise failed to yield positive results.

"The family has also lost a brother and no one stands to suffer any prejudice if the remains are buried," she said.


- chroncle

Tags: Urgency, Court, Burial,
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