A screengrab from one of the videos shared on social media.
A screengrab from one of the videos shared on social media.

Undertakers demand inclusion in funeral sector

By Lyse Comins Time of article published Sep 14, 2020

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A national shutdown of funeral parlour services went ahead across the province this morning with several reports of intimidation without physical violence, resulting in the closure of businesses across towns and cities.

Protesters in solidarity with the Unification Task Team, a group that represents funeral directors, marched with an empty coffin to the Gale Street Mortuary in Durban where they toyi-toyied on the pavement.

One of the protestors was seen in a video posted on social media, climbing into the empty coffin outside the facility.

UTT KZN facilitator, Muzi Hlengwa, said there had been widespread support for the strike and its members had also gone “door to door” to businesses to ensure that they were closed this morning.

In another video posted on social media protestors were seen visiting Ndabe Funeral Services where they demanded that the premises close in solidarity with strikers.

UTT announced the national strike as it wants the government to recognise its estimated R4 billion contribution to the economy and to meet several demands including:

  • The abolishment of the tender system in the funeral industry
  • The establishment of a Covid-19 relief fund for the sector
  • For funeral parlours to be paid directly by the Road Accident Fund
  • That a certificate of competence only be a requirement for a building of storage and management of human remains
  • That the Department of Home Affairs allow undertakers who don’t own a certificate of competence to write the designation number examinations
  • For grants to be provided to assist emerging small businesses.
  • The abolishment of insurance companies in the funeral industry

National Funeral Directors Association of Southern Africa (NFDASA) president Manesh Govender said his organisation agreed with some concerns that UTT raised but distanced itself from the strike.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city recognised the right to strike but it would not condone lawlessness, such as the blocking of traffic and damage to property.

The Mercury

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