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South Africa: Funerals in Doubt As Nationwide Strike Looms

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Cape Town — The Unification Task Team (UTT) has called for a nationwide shutdown of all funeral parlours, with funeral directors requested to send their vehicles to hospitals and mortuaries in support of the shutdown, Times Live reports.

Muzi Hlengwa, president of the National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (Nafupa) called on all funeral parlours to close their operations during the shutdown.

The UTT’s call comes ahead of demands made by the African Funeral Practitioners Organisation (Afpo) which said the organisation, along with its affiliates, would embark on a strike on Monday, according to EWN.

“There will be no removal of bodies from government hospitals, from private hospitals and from homes. There will also be no funerals and no funeral suppliers, starting from the 14th to the 16th [of September],” Afpo’s Almarine Pole-Nkosi said when speaking to EWN.

Funeral parlour directors have, among other things, demanded that the outsourcing of mortuary facilities be recognised and legalised. Additional demands include approval from Home Affairs to allow  the appointment of third parties to conduct duties on funeral parlour directors’ behalf, something currently prohibited by law, as well as the allocation of a Covid-19 relief fund for the funeral industry.

The SA Funeral Practitioners Association (Safpa), however, has elected not to participate in the shutdown despite their affiliation with the UTT.

Speaking to Times Live, Safpa said: “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.”

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