Kin bring corpse to insurance firm to claim burial insurance

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 22 2019 11:53 AM

JOHANNESBURG - Angered by foot-dragging by an insurance company in paying out for a burial policy, a family in South Africa took matters into their own hands -- they hauled the corpse to the company's offices.

In a video clip that has gone viral on social media, two women can be seen schlepping a blue plastic body bag into an insurance office as stunned clients look on.

After impressing the employees with this unusual act of fact-checking, they leave the premises and helped by several other people drag the bag into the boot of a car.

A man asks them whether their row over the payout has been resolved.

"They've just paid now, that's why we are removing... the body now," a woman can be heard to reply.

The incident took place last Friday at a branch of the Old Mutual insurance company in KwaDukuza, north of the city of Durban.

On Twitter, Old Mutual said there had been an "incident at this branch (which) whilst isolated is regrettable."

"(...) This specific claim had to undergo further assessments," it said.

The news site Times Live said the body was that of Sifiso Mtshali, and the two women were his niece Thandaza Mtshali and her aunt, Ntombenhle Mhlongo.

They had been waiting more than 48 hours for the insurance payout, and in desperation gained the approval of the morgue to take the body to the insurance company to press their claim.

"I saw it fit to take the body to them while they were doing their assessment, because that could have taken months. I saw it best for them to figure out where they put the body, as long as they kept it safe and it didn't rot," said Mtshali.

The government of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday issued a statement of support for the family.

"Over the years this family took a burial policy with the insurance company in order to be able to lay to rest their loved ones with dignity but only to be sent from pillar to post when they were supposed to receive payment for the funeral," it said.

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