Avbob funeral insurers was granted an interdict in the Durban High Court on Tuesday to stop the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (Nafupa SA) from intimidating its employees or interfering with its business practices.

Since November last year, Nafupa SA has been trying to ban white and Indian funeral practitioners from operating in “township” and “black areas”, saying these must be reserved for black African-owned businesses.

Based in Durban, Nafupa SA – which has as its tagline “fairness and equality”, describes itself as “a funeral association representing the majority of the black and previously disadvantaged funeral businesses”.

Nafupa president, Muzi Hlengwa, was not present at court on Tuesday and did not file a responding affidavit. His wife told Judge Philip Nkosi that he was ill.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Avbob spokesperson Marius du Plessis said: “Should Nafupa SA and Mr Hlengwa contravene the court order, Avbob will be entitled to approach the court on 24 hours’ notice and request the immediate imprisonment of Mr Hlengwa”.

Du Plessis said that while Avbob was willing to engage Nafupa SA in “meaningful discussions” about their concerns, Nafupa’s demands were “completely unrealistic and irrational”.

Du Plessis claims Nafupa demanded that Avbob pay them 30% of its annual profits to shut down their campaign and also demanded the national insurer establish fully functional funeral parlours for Nafupa SA.

“We will not allow the benefits due to our members to be plundered by violent minorities with narrow agendas of personal enrichment. We will continue to stand steadfast in our promise to be there for our members,” said Du Plessis.

Du Plessis said Avbob gained its first interdict against the group on 29 January, but contends Nafupa SA simply ignored the order, which led it to hire a private security company “to escort staff and clients into the affected areas”.

Along with other organisations that say they are committed to radical economic transformation, Nafusa SA will be honouring, among others, former president Jacob Zuma at its year-opening function in Durban on Thursday night.

Also on the evening’s programme will be announcements about an alleged partnership between VBS Bank and Nafusa SA and “agreements” reached between government, other funeral practitioners and the company.

Little-known VBS shot to prominence in 2016 when it granted Zuma a loan of R7.8 million to pay for non-security related upgrades to his Nkandla home.

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