26/03/2014 Durban New Land West Indian community advertise funerals on the lamp post for free. PICTURE: SIBUSISO NDLOVU

Durban - At least two Durban funeral parlours have been fined as the city clamps down on the posting of funeral notices on light poles.

While the notices were put up by bereaved families, the parlours that provided them were being held to account. This has prompted concern by the KwaZulu-Natal Funeral Directors’ Association, which has vowed to challenge the city.

Wybank Funeral Services in Chatsworth received a bill in January. Manager Mandy Chetty said it was in connection with a funeral in June or July last year.

The original fine was for about R800, but the company was told it also had to pay interest, bringing the total to R940.

The association’s chairman, Logan Chetty, said the A4-size notices had been given to families to distribute to let the community know of the time and date of the funeral.

“The municipality should be sympathetic to grieving families instead of penalising them in their time of grief, and the association will take this matter up with the mayor,” he said.

Koshik Maharaj, of Newlands City Funerals, said he had heard of two parlours that had been fined.

“The most we can do is to warn and plead with customers not to stick the notices on lamp posts. But this is the quickest way to get the message of a passing and funeral across.

“Sometimes there is such a short space of time to let everyone know and placing notices at bus stops, robots and on lamp posts is the most effective way to ensure everyone has a chance to say their goodbyes.”

Maharaj said the municipality should rather warn parlours to remove all notices once a funeral was over.

Former councillor Visvin Reddy said he was shocked and dismayed by the municipality’s move to penalise parlours.

“These people are mourning and now they must be fined for putting up posters letting other community members know when their loved ones will be laid to rest – that is just insensitive.”

Reddy said he had been approached by various funeral parlour owners who were baffled at how something that had been done for years could now mean a hefty fine for them.

“I will be setting up a meeting with the mayor to discuss this issue. If this is a provision in the city’s by-law it should be removed, it is unacceptable,” he said.

eThekwini Municipality spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, said according to a city by-law, “Any signs displayed on a public road or meant to be visible from a public road are required to have municipal approval.”

Daily News