A funeral home in Gauteng had to seek a court order to bury the body of pastor Siva Moodley, which had been stored at a mortuary for almost two years as his family believed he would be resurrected.
Moodley was buried in a dignified manner at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Thursday, with 40 to 50 people in attendance. His wife and two adult children did not attend the service.
Martin’s Funerals Fourways and Roodepoort approached the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for an order to bury Moodley as his immediate family had not claimed his body for almost 600 days after his death.
His family had not given consent for the burial or cremation of Moodley’s body, which was stored in a coffin at a refrigerated mortuary in Johannesburg.
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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 Gauteng High Court granted an order authorizing the sheriff of the court to sign all necessary documents for Moodley’s cremation in February.
The order was suspended for a month so that it could be served on Moodley’s immediate family.
It was understood that Moodley’s wife did not oppose the application, and no response was received from her after the order was granted.
Brown, a claims manager at Martin’s Funerals Roodepoort, said the funeral home did not want to infringe on people’s religious beliefs, but they 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.
On the day of Moodley’s death, a church member instructed the undertaker to attend to the removal of his body at his Randburg home.
The family was then advised that the body should be transported to the mortuary.
Thereafter, several attempts were made to obtain permission to proceed with cremation.
Eventually, a meeting was held between the funeral home and Moodley’s wife, who allegedly had a vision that he could be resurrected.
Moodley’s website claims that in 2003, Caid Bailey became the first person raised from the dead at Moodley’s meetings.
In 2013, a baby who died before birth was also “raised to life in a miracle service after Dr Siva prayed for the mother in a coma.”
The family’s belief that Moodley could be resurrected appeared to align with their religious beliefs.