Funeral undertakers go on strike in Durban

Undertakers vowed not to collect human remains from all hospitals and mortuaries.

The Mercury has reported that funeral undertakers went on strike on Monday 14 September on the basis that the government failed to respond to their demands, among which, was the establishment of a Covid-19 relief fund for the sector. 

The Unification Task Team, a group that represents funeral directors, marched with an empty coffin in Durban, having vowed not to collect human remains from all public and private hospitals and mortuaries.

In addition to the aforementioned relief fund, striking undertakers demand the recognition and legalisation of outsourced mortuary facilities, as well as the ability to claim and be paid directly by the Road Accident Fund.

Meanwhile, National Health spokesperson Popo Maja expressed concern about the possibly leading to “undesired conditions and risks to public health.”

In a recent statement, the spokesperson the department has already had three meetings with stakeholders from the sector in response to an open letter from the National Funeral Practitioners of Association of South Africa.

"This is the only association that wrote to the department. We would like to emphasise that all funeral undertakers and mortuary premises used in connection with the preparation, storage and preservation of human remains must be in possession of a valid certificate of competence issued by the relevant local authority. Environmental Health Practitioners are and will continue to conduct inspections in all funeral undertakers’ premises in the country to check compliance with the Regulations. Legal action will be taken against owners of premises found to be in contravention,” said the spokesperson.