No need to panic about coffin supply in KZN after looting incidents

By Sibusiso Mboto Time of article published Jul 30, 2021

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Durban: The South African Funeral Practitioners Association (Safpa) says there is no need to panic over a possible shortage of caskets in KwaZulu-Natal as there is sufficient stock to meet the demand.

While there had been challenges over level 4 lockdown and the looting of caskets, in some instances during the riots two weeks ago, this did not amount to a crisis.

Safpa deputy president Ndabezinhle Ngcobo admitted that there was a shortage, but stressed that this was limited to Gauteng which had been hit hard by the third wave of Covid-19.

“There is no need for panic from members of the public, everything is fine here in KZN, there is sufficient stock to meet the demand,” said Ngcobo.

He added that they had stock which they had been piling up in fear of an increase in deaths because of the third wave of Covid-19.

“As you know the projections were that the third wave would hit us in April and in anticipation of that possible rise in demand, production capacity was increased by manufacturers, but thankfully as KZN we were not as badly hit as Gauteng by the third wave, that is why there is stock available,” the Safpa deputy president said.

Nomfundo Mcoyi of Icebolethu Funerals, one of the funeral parlours that was hit by the looting where people even stole caskets, said they had stocked up well in anticipation of the third wave of Covid-19.

“We have no shortage, and all of our clients are being serviced without any delays, no one has been or will be turned away over the unavailability of caskets,” Mcoyi stressed.

Other funeral parlours also indicated that they had enough caskets to service their clients.

South African Funeral Supplies (SAFS) chief executive Ricardo Yenketsamy told The Mercury that the riots had affected production as operations were halted at the plant located at the Phoenix Industrial Park for nine days.

“We normally have an eight-hour operation, but because of that inactivity we have had to scale up operations, so now we work throughout the week and are also doing night shifts just in order to catch up” , said Yenketsamy.

The rise in deaths in Gauteng and KZN and Limpopo, he continued, had created panic in some circles, but this was not necessary.

“I do not believe that there will be a shortage of caskets,” he continued.

He said he had noted that some funeral parlours were ordering more caskets than they would normally, and warned that this was creating an unnecessary state of panic.

“The fact is that because the deaths are concentrated in three provinces, there is now fear that stock may run out. The fact of the matter is that on average there are 30 000 deaths recorded in South Africa per month and this demand has been met before by the industry and there is no reason to believe that it will not be met this time around,” he said.

The Mercury

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