The Unification Task Team (UTT) has called for a nationwide total shutdown of all funeral parlours on Monday.
National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (Nafupa) president Muzi Hlengwa said all funeral parlours are requested to close their premises during the shutdown.
Hlengwa said there would be no removals from hospitals or homes, no burials and no funeral supplies.
Funeral directors are requested to send their vehicles to hospitals and mortuaries in support of the shutdown.
“Going to work as workers might provoke undertakers who are committed to the national funeral shutdown.”
He said that the funeral industry had been “reasonably patient” with the government, but they had nothing to “show apart from empty promises”.
“We need transformation in this industry and we need it now.”
The industry wants the outsourcing of mortuary facilities to be recognised and legalised.
“We want the tender system to be abolished in the funeral industry, to allow families their constitutional right to appoint their preferred service provider.
“Where there are no families to choose a service provider, a rotation database should be applied. No tenders at all,” he said.
Hlengwa said they want the government to consult the funeral industry in any event that seeks to affect the funeral industry directly or indirectly.
Other demands include:
- The deriving of annual provincial schedules for the writing of designation number examinations.
- Municipality bylaws amended to accommodate the building of bulk or cluster or complex storages.
- Government to allocate a Covid-19 relief fund for the funeral industry with immediate effect.
- Funeral undertakers to claim and be paid direct by the Road Accident Fund using the session agreement.
- The National Consumer Commission to initiate engagements with the funeral industry in working together towards regulating and recognising the funeral industry as a prominent sector in the economy of the country.
- The department of small business development to channel some of its budget to the funeral industry through grants that will assist in the development of small and emerging funeral undertakers.
Meanwhile, the SA Funeral Practitioners Association (Safpa) said despite forming part of the UTT, they would not be part of the shutdown.
“We are an organisation that promotes adherence to regulation compliance and we believe there are other avenues that can be explored to address the challenges we face as undertakers in SA.”
The association said it had communicated its position to its members and would be operating to serve and engage and to find solutions to the challenges at hand.
By Iavan Pijoos – TimesLIVE