Confusion as families rush to bury their dead before Covid-19 lockdown
Cape Town - Desperate families are rushing to bury their loved ones a day before the country’s lockdown, while some have been left confused, not knowing what do.
A mourner, Thando Mboyi from Parklands, said the looming lockdown affected his family’s burial plans.
They arranged to bury their family member this weekend, but had to change the date “because we didn’t want to be on the wrong side of the law”.
Mboyi said his family member would be buried today, and thanked the funeral parlours for their assistance during “this hard time”.
Siviwe Mhlomi, 34, director of Uviwe Funeral Services, a funeral parlour based in Khayelitsha, said he was in the business for at least 11 years, servicing the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.
Mhlomi said the lockdown announcement was already affecting his business, where “some of the families were confused about what is to happen if they bury their loved ones after Thursday”.
“We fall under the health sector, but the essential workers’ announcement was not clarified, hence many families were still confused,” he said.
Emergency Medical and Forensic Pathology Services spokesperson Deanna Bessick said: “We are awaiting the directive from the presidency as was alluded to in his announcement to the nation on Monday, which would detail the list of essential services.”
Bessick said so far there were no piled-up bodies, and remains were being released for burial as usual.
“Note, there has been no recorded death yet as a result of Covid-19. Death as a result of Covid-19 is deemed to be death due to natural causes and will therefore not be admitted to funeral pathology services for a medico-legal investigation of death,” Bessick said.
South African Funeral Practitioners’ Association national spokesperson Vuyo Mabindisa urged families to continue arranging funeral services with their funeral parlours and undertakers, and to bury “without the crowds”.
Mabindisa said people could later, “after the lockdown”, organise memorial services for loved ones. “We are in support of the president’s announcement, and we know that we also fall under the essential workers,” he said.
Doves group chief executive Minki Rasenyalo said with confirmed cases in South Africa and the numbers climbing every day, the coronavirus needed to be taken seriously, yet without panic.
“Ensuring that our staff and clients are safe throughout this ordeal is our biggest mission,” Rasenyalo said.
With the president prohibiting all gatherings of more than 100 people, she was encouraging all families to plan “intimate funerals of a small number of family members”.@SISONKE_MD