Pastor buried after body kept at mortuary for almost 2 years as family believed he would be resurrected
Gauteng pastor Siva Moodley died on 14 August 2021.
For almost two years, his body was kept at a mortuary, until the funeral home obtained a court order to bury him.
His immediate family allegedly did not give the instruction for a burial or cremation as they believed he would be resurrected.
A funeral home in Gauteng had to obtain a court order to bury pastor Siva Moodley, whose body was kept at a mortuary for almost two years as his family allegedly believed he would be resurrected.
A funeral was held for Moodley on Thursday, and he was buried at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg after his death on 14 August 2021.
Ryan Brown, a claims manager at Martin’s Funerals Roodepoort, told News24 Moodley was buried in a dignified manner in the presence of siblings and extended family.
Between 40 and 50 people attended the funeral service and burial, which a pastor conducted.
It is understood that his wife and two adult children were not in attendance.
Court order for burial
Moodley was buried after the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted a court order. According to court documents seen by News24, Martin’s Funerals Fourways and Roodepoort approached the court for an order because Moodley’s immediate family did not claim his body for almost 600 days after his death.
Nor had his family provided consent for the burial or cremation of Moodley’s body, and the funeral home stored his body in a coffin at a refrigerated mortuary in Johannesburg.
In the court papers, the funeral home said City of Johannesburg representatives visited the mortuary in December 2022 and indicated that future notices could be issued as they considered Moodley’s remains a health risk because, at that point, he had been stored there for more than a year.
The funeral home made 28 attempts to contact Moodley’s wife and children to obtain instructions. This included emails, more than 40 WhatsApp messages and attorney’s letters.
The court papers read, referring to Moodley’s wife and children:
However, the first, second and third respondents refused to provide instructions.
In February, the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted an order authorising the sheriff of the court to sign all necessary documents for Moodley’s cremation.
The order was suspended for a month so that it could be served on Moodley’s immediate family.
It was understood that his wife did not oppose the application and that no response was received from her after the order was granted.
Brown told News24 the funeral home did not want to infringe on people’s religious beliefs, but that they also had to follow the law in terms of health regulations. According to Brown, Martin’s Funerals does not discriminate against anyone for any reason and always assists where possible. He, however, added that this was an unusual case.