A funeral parlour owner and woman were arrested near Umbilo, Durban, after the two used a corpse to fraudulently claim life insurance, police said on Monday.
The woman (35) apparently made up a birth certificate of a fictional person named Aphiwe Ntombela, said KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Col. Vincent Mdunge.
She then took out life insurance policies, collectively worth R950 000, in this person's name with three different companies. She subsequently paid a number of monthly premiums.
"When the policies were ready for claiming she had a dilemma, because she had to kill a person who did not exist," said Mdunge.
"To solve this problem she approached a funeral parlour owner from uMlazi and asked him to 'borrow' [lend] her a female body from his mortuary, so that the body could be presented to the doctor for certification of death."
Last Wednesday the funeral parlour owner, aged 42, took a woman's body from his mortuary to eThekwini mortuary, where he presented it under the name of Aphiwe Ntombela.
"The doctor saw the body and certified it as deceased."
A death certificate was issued and the woman used it to lodge fraudulent insurance claims.
The funeral parlour owner planned to come back on Friday to fetch the woman's body, so she could be buried by her real family.
Police received a tip-off about the scam and waited at the eThekwini mortuary to arrest him.
The woman who had secured the insurance policies was also arrested.
The two will appear in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on a charge of fraud on Monday.