Funeral undertakers vow to continue protest, set to defy interdict
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Pretoria - Funeral undertakers who clashed with the police during a protest outside the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria CBD on Tuesday will defy the court interdict and resume picketing today.
They are unhappy with the department over numerous unsolved issues, including delays in the registration of death certificates.
The secretary-general of the Unification Task Team of the Funeral Industry, Kgomotso Langa, told the Pretoria News they intended to shut down the department’s offices again today.
She said: “We hear that the department obtained a court interdict preventing us from protesting. It was never served to us as the supposed correspondents.”
Department spokesperson Siya Qoza said the interdict prohibited members of the Unification Task Team from intimidating staff or customers. He said: “The interdict also prohibits the Unification Task Team of the Funeral Industry from damaging any Home Affairs property. The interdict forms part of the contingency plan of the department to ensure that people who need Home Affairs services are not inconvenienced.”
Qoza, however, insisted that the interdict was served to the Unification Task Team of the Funeral Industry yesterday. “We have regular lines of communication with the organisation. They have used these lines of communications to raise issues of concern to them. Some of the issues they have raised with us fall under the mandate of the Department of Health and municipalities.
“In the regular engagements with the organisation, the department has indicated the need to consult the Department of Health and the local municipalities through the South African Local Government Association.
In their memorandum, the organisation included demands such as requests for a Certificate of Competence not to form part of Designation Number training and examination requirements.
They also asked that a recommendation letter from a recognised funeral association must be a requirement for the training and examinations and for such to be decentralised to district level.
They also want the department to issue annual or mid-year and or quarterly scheduled dates and venues for the writing of designation examinations and that only members of recognised funeral associations be allowed to register death certificates.
Qoza said consultations between the department and the South African Local Government Association on the issues raised by the organisation were taking place. The outcomes of these engagements was an agreement to grant provisional designation for funeral parlours or undertakers to temporarily conduct business relating to the registration of deaths. “As part of this agreement, applications to be designated funeral undertakers are required to have proof of a storage lease agreement as certification of the business relationship for processing or keeping of and cold storage of the deceased with a facility issued with the Certificate of Competence.”