The Muslim Cemetery Board says the R500 fee being charged for burials at Mowbray cemetery after hours is necessary to cover overtime and other operational costs.
The board on Wednesday confirmed that a R500 levy is charged for burials after 4pm.
This comes after a video went viral on social media, showing men at the Mowbray Muslim Cemetery paying for entrance to bury a person.
The caretaker refused to allow them entry because they were late.
When the man recording the video demanded to know what the money was for, the irritated caretaker said it was for latecoming.
When the men insisted, he refused them entry, saying: “You can take your money then I won’t take you in,” adding that they must take their complaints to the Muslim Cemetery Board.
A person can be heard saying in the background: “Yoh, hulle sal maak dat ek knoppe vloek.”
The two-minute long video sparked numerous complaints from the public who questioned the “latecoming” fee, with many wondering whether it was a scam.
But Muslim Cemetery Board secretary Fazloodien Abrahams, said the late fee of R500 was communicated to undertakers in September 2020 already and that they have received no complaints.
He said the levy pertained to janaazahs taking place after operating hours at the graveyard, from 4pm.
The fee covers overtime, electricity and other costs incurred after hours, he said.
In a statement on Facebook Live on Wednesday, Abrahams explained that a portion of the fee is used to pay for fuel to transport staff home and additional costs.
“If the janaazah comes in after 4pm, the R500 will cover the money to pay the staff. We have grave diggers who work in clothing in mud and clay.
“The staff have to stay until the janaazah leaves, clean up their tools, their protective gear and lock up the office… which can take another hour or two. Then we need to take them home.”
Slm. This is our written press statement to the public and all other stakeholders.Posted by Fazloodien Abrahams on Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Board chairperson Faizel Sayed said families who cannot afford the R500 fee would not be turned away.
He also apologised for the conduct of the supervisor, citing distress over numerous concerns facing the maqbara.
Muslim Judicial Council second deputy president, Sheikh Riad Fataar, said although the Mowbray Cemetery was privately-run and it has no jurisdiction, the MJC would meet with the cemetery board today to discuss the issue.
He emphasised that the late fee only applied to janaazahs taking place after 4pm and that no extra cost had to be paid during working hours.