These are the Covid-19 hotspots according to KZN undertakers
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Durban - AS OF Tuesday 1 675 people have died from Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal and seven of these fatalities were recorded in one day.
According to the Department of Health, the province ranked the fourth highest in fatalities with 63 481 confirmed cases. The eThekwini Metro consistently had the highest number of new cases daily.
The KZN Undertakers Forum was living the reality of these figures on paper.
Its vice chairperson Ahmed Paruk said information he had on the ground was that hotspots included uMlazi, Overport and Westville.
“One of the protocols in dealing with these funerals is that we should contact the Department of Health should we have a Covid-19 death and they come to inspect if the right body bag is used and that all Covid-19 procedures were followed. We also ensure that the hearses we use are sanitized before and after the body has been picked up,” he said.
Clare Estate Crematorium Secretary Thegraj Kassie said after dealing with three to five Covid-19 funerals daily in March and April, they noticed a dip from August until September.
“We have been noting a slight increase in these funerals again with one to two Covid19 funerals a day. We’re still following protocol to mitigate the spread of the disease where there is a limit of 75 people for non-Covid19 funerals and 25 people at Covid-19 funerals. There’s no decor such as draping for funerals. We just allow flowers as we believe that the draping fabric, if not washed, could contribute to the spread of the disease,” said Kassie.
Meanwhile, the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (Nafupa) said there had been quite a lot of improvement since the industry embarked on a three-day national strike in September.
The Unification Task Team (UTT), which represents funeral directors nationally, listed demands that included:
– abolishment of the tender system in the funeral industry;
– grants must be provided to assist emerging small businesses;
– a certificate of competence (COC) should only be a requirement for a building of storage and management of human remains; and
– the Department of Home Affairs must allow undertakers who do not own a certificate of competence to write the designation number examinations.
Muzi Hlengwa, who is with both UTT and Nafupa, said all their demands had been met.
“The Department of Health agreed with us that they don’t have to force parlours to produce COCs when they come to collect bodies... Home Affairs agreed that it was not their place to ask us for COCs if parlours wanted to be declared as undertakers before allowing them to write the designation number examinations,” he said.
He said as of last week, the department had promised this would no longer happen.
“Another issue we had raised was that of underwriters that also function as funeral undertakers.Government can’t stop these from burying people, we addressed this matter with them and now only one (Old Mutual) still an issue.”
Hlongwa said this would be further discussed at the next UTT meeting this week.