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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Families’ headstones not delivered

A GRIEVING Gugulethu, Cape Town, woman has grave concerns after she paid R10 000 for the upgrade of her mother and grandfather’s tombstones, but two years later nothing has been done.

The family never imagined it would take this long to honour their deceased relatives. It is nearly two years since Nonkhokhele Ngcula paid M&Y Tombstones and Granite the money.

Her complaints to the company have fallen on deaf ears.

“I was told the work will be done and up until now the work had not been done,” said Ngcula.

She said one of the toughest parts was being ignored despite making several complaints.

Fed up, she finally went to the company’s offices in June last year to try to get a refund but, she said, she was still waiting for her money.

Ngcula standing beside the second grave that was suppose to be upgraded.

Ngcula said she just wanted the tombstones completed or get her money back. ”They don’t respect their work and don’t care. I even spoke with the manager (Janine). She was not helpful at all. Instead, she was very rude and unprofessional,” she said.

Two other customers have similar complaints of poor service.

Grieving widow Beauty Dwangu said that in December she paid M&Y Tombstone & Granite Works R19 500 for two tombstones, one for her late husband and the other for his brother. But it was already February and the tombstones had not been produced.

Her daughter, Andiswa Dwangu, said that when they visited the grave site they were unhappy.

“We even bought a plot next to my father for my mother but all you will see is a brick wall for those people living close by to jump over.”

She said it was a devastating situation to their family, especially for her mother who is struggling with grief. This whole saga was delaying her healing process as they had not been able to invite their family for the unveiling of the tomb.

“We as black people believe once we don’t do the tombstone the person is not resting in peace, so this is something, ” she said.

Another client, Phumla Mathe, said the company owed her R7 500 for her nephew’s headstone. “They only did the foundation and promised to finish the work, but they keep making excuses.”

She said when they went to the the cemetery they discovered the company had never finished the tombstone. Instead they buried someone else in his nephew plot. “Luckily we had the plot number and there was no way they could deny this.”

The company also received mixed reviews online from customers who took to the consumer review website, Hello Peter, to either rave about the good service they received or recount bad experiences.

A woman by the name of Wendy R said she paid R4 000 for her two siblings’ tombstones in 2021 but had not gotten the service she paid for.

M&Y Tombstones and Granite Works spokesperson Patricia Miller said she spoke to their clients and all agreed to accept refunds on or before March 15.

Miller told Weekend Argus they had encountered an influx of gang attacks, theft, looting and vandalism on their property and the neighbouring farms throughout the last year.

“Our attention has extensively been on securing our facilities and property and trying to sort out all damages,” said Miller.

She said they now had new security measures in place and started repairs where required. She added “we are in the process of sorting out all outstanding refunds which will take a period of time, approximately three to six months, to conclude all applications”.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused,” Miller said.

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