Funeral undertakers across the country are expected to go on strike on Monday to demand improved working conditions and higher remuneration.
The undertakers affiliated to the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa say their strike will affect the movement of bodies between homes, hospitals and mortuaries nationwide.
Their memorandum includes a demand that mortuary facilities be outsourced.
The strike has been organised by the Unification Task Team which comprises of 17 associations and forums.
“I hereby confirm that Gauteng will be the hotspot for our shutdown, we are gonna shutdown Gauteng, there will be no removals from government hospitals and mortuaries and home removal. There will be no funerals there will be no cemeteries with effect from Monday until Wednesday, there are not removals no funerals, we have teams on the ground who will ensure that this will happen,” says George Dlodlo, Gauteng Facilitator.
The funeral undertakers say they have the support of crematoriums and the Muslim community.
KwaZulu-Natal convener, Muzi Hlengwa, says they held a meeting with businesses and religious leaders to discuss their concerns.
“I want to in particular thank the Muslim society for their understanding, these are the people who have to bury the deceased the same day but they have sacrificed the three days from Monday to Wednesday for that we salute you, the struggle must continue,” says Hlengwa.
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The Department of Health says it is concerned about the strike, stating it could lead to undesirable conditions and risks to public health.
It says that all funeral undertakers and mortuary premises must be in possession of a valid certificate.
The Department is aware that a group of funeral undertakers are planning to shut down the collection of human remains from private and public health facilities. This is very concerning as this action may lead to undesired conditions and risks to public health pic.twitter.com/pDMfkAZ5WD
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) September 13, 2020