Funeral services are running low on coffins and caskets while manufacturers are working non-stop as Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to increase.Picture:Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).
Funeral services are running low on coffins and caskets while manufacturers are working non-stop as Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to increase.Picture:Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Coffin, casket manufacturers working 24/7 as Covid-19 deaths increase

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Jan 11, 2021

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Durban - Funeral services are running low on coffins and caskets while manufacturers are working non-stop as Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to increase.

KZN Coffins and Caskets Manufacturers co-director Jeremy Naidoo said the company had been working 24 hours since Christmas Eve.

He said the employees were exhausted and some were falling ill.

“We have to send the guys home, sanitise the place and bring new guys in,” Naidoo said.

“It’s hectic. We can’t cope.”

He said the factory needed skilled workers because it did not want the coffins and caskets to break underneath and the bodies to fall out.

“We’re manufacturing over 100 caskets and we’re manufacturing over 150 coffins and we still cannot cope. We’ve had to put tents outside and work outside our factory.”

Naidoo said the situation was hectic in Durban and people were coming from as far as the Eastern Cape. Funeral parlours were parking outside their premises and waiting for either one or two coffins. Families were also going to the factory and asking them to help them bury their loved ones.

“We just pray to God that things calm down. We can’t take it, we’re exhausted,” Naidoo said.

He said everyone, including the owners and directors, were constantly working. The company also had about 60 or 70 casual workers.

Naidoo said to make matters worse, suppliers were increasing their prices and there were no boards and materials for them.

“The suppliers can’t give us (materials). There’s only timber. It’ll probably run us until the middle of February, maybe the end of January,” Naidoo said.

Tyrone Fowles, owner of Fowles Cremation and Burial Services Incorporated, said there were coffin shortages, therefore it was difficult to get coffins in at the last minute to help families, which also caused delays.

“Because of the shortages, if you have a Covid-19 or suspected case, you have to cremate in a full coffin or casket. The body has to go straight into the coffin and then straight through to the crematorium and the government wants us to do that in three days,” Fowles said.

“Now, without enough coffins, we can’t send them off, we have to wait until the coffin supply becomes available and then send them through to the crematoriums.”

Pinetown Funeral Services director Clive Moodley said bodies were coming in fast and some coffin and casket manufacturers were closed, leaving them to run on limited stock.

“I buy in November and that carries me through to March, but now I’m running out,” Moodley said.

Imbali Funerals owner Nesh Jadoo said he was worried about the next few weeks because coffins and caskets were running low.

He said coffin manufacturers opened only last week and they were facing a shortage of stock.

The Daily News

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