The year opening Gala Dinner for Nafupa SA at Olive Convention Centre in Durban. Muzi Hlengwa president of Nafupa SA awarding former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo
DURBAN - The controversial National Funeral Practitioners’ Association of SA which called for non-black funeral operators to be barred from working in the townships, has partnered with Doves Funeral Service in what they say is a victory for economic transformation in the sector.

This week, Nafupa-SA honoured former president Jacob Zuma and adorned him with the label “father of radical economic transformation”.

Earlier, the Durban High Court had granted Avbob a final court interdict against the association for being in contempt of court. Avbob had approached the court after Nafupa-SA allegedly threatened to ban non-blacks from township burials.

The group was found to be in contempt of a court interim order which was granted in January and which barred them from partaking in unlawful protests or gatherings at Avbob branches, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.

Meanwhile, the deal between Nafupa-SA and Doves would see the company assist the association in starting and operating its own funeral services insurance company.

Doves would help Nafupa-SA acquire a licence and assist them with infrastructure development, said Nafupa-SA secretary general, Nkosentsha Shezi.

“Doves will cover all the costs needed to run the insurance company. We will work with them for five years and from then on, we will be able to stand on our own.

“There is also an agreement for Doves to hire our equipment and our members to be trained at its academy.”

Part of the agreement would see Doves outsource some of the transportation and burial duties to Nafupa-SA, while the association would also use Doves mortuaries as part of the trade off.

Doves chief executive Minki Rasenyalo confirmed the partnership and said collaboration was the key.

“We are of the view that if we work together we can unlock the disputes and we can be able to grow them in business,” said Rasenyalo.

But speaking on Thursday, Zuma fanned the fires again by suggesting that “Indians must bury an Indian, whites must bury a white and an African must bury an African”, in support of localisation of the economy.

On the economic transformation award given to Zuma, Shezi said the former president had emancipated black business, pointing to the policy of diverting 30% of tenders to black business during his tenure.

Shezi also hit out at Avbob and said it refused to negotiate with the association.

“It is unfortunate that we have one company called Avbob that is refusing to come to meaningful negotiations with us in terms of development and transformation,” said Shezi.

Avbob spokesperson Marius du Plessis said it sought court intervention after intimidation and assault of their staff.

Du Plessis denied claims it was not willing to enter into discussions with Nafupa-SA.

“We said from the beginning that we are willing to enter into meaningful discussions with them. We have always been willing to assist entrepreneurs as it is something we do anyway.

“However, the demands from Nafupa-SA have been completely unrealistic and irrational,” said Du Plessis.

Avbob had provided capital, infrastructure, amenities and vehicles to emerging businesspeople, he said.

“These persons then employ their own staff from the local community and they acquire services and products from other local entrepreneurs.

“This model contributes directly to the local economy. That is our model and we have been applying it successfully for decades,” he said.

Shezi also revealed it was no longer part of the steering committee which was set up by Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala. The committee was to address issues of transformation in the burial space.

“We would only go back to that steering committee on condition that it is constituted in a manner that people who sit in those meetings are people who have the mandate to take decisions,” said Shezi.

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