Funeral parlour owners say no bodies will be collected until agreement is reached

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Government mortuaries in Gauteng and North West experiences a strain as funeral parlour industry engage in a national shut down citing unfair treatment by the government, unfair business practice by insurance companies who are also trying to use their financial muscle to infiltrate the industry.

The national shut down which started on Monday is led and initiated by the funeral parlour industry national representative of directors Unification Task Team (UTT). The mother body says the strike will go on for three days until Wednesday.

Speaking to Gauteng and North West Convenor Bennet Sibanda at Dr George Mukhari Hospital, he says their cry for respect and fair treatment by certain government entities have been going on for way too long and they have been lenient in the manner in which they engage with the government and they can’t endure the abuse anymore as their businesses are almost at the state of collapsing.

He said that there are certain requirements that are put forward by the government intended for them which are unrealistic for new players in the industry who have limited resources and no financial muscles to compete with certain big industry players.

Among the list of demands they want from the Department of Health is a certificate of competency to also be issued to them for as long as they have a building that is complaint where human remains would be stored and assistance to small emerging businesses among others.

“Some requirements placed by the Department of Health say that for one to be an undertaker it is a must that you have a building where you would obviously place those corpses and having put those requirements forward, the very same government is ignoring the huge land problem we are facing as the country for us to build those required buildings. We don’t have land and for you acquire that land you still need to go through a lot of processes which could also cost money for emerging players.”

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“Seeing that certain new players are facing huge challenges we decided to group ourselves, draft a memorandum of understanding (MOU) where we would use one building that is compliant and work together but the government refuses to listen to us they say each and every undertaker must have their own facility.”

He said the poor communication on the said matters at hand led them to this protest where even people cannot bury their loved ones because they agreed as the industry that no bodies will be collected nor delivered during this three days in their protest and they also made sure that they visit cemeteries to ensure that no funeral parlour is operating.

Sibanda also added that he is happy that their struggle and protest seems to be baring good fruits because the Department of Health have agreed to their terms of demands but they still want them to put their agreements in writing and they are also still waiting on other departments such as Home Affairs and Small Business to respond and failure to respond to their demands they will also take this protest to their door step until their demands are met.

“Taking into consideration the negative impact by Covid-19 lock down, some businesses might close because of extra costs and we also lost a lot of our colleagues and members due this pandemic and now we are forced to lend a hand were possible, so small business department need to also come forward.”

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