The Department of Health says that it has noted with concern plans by a group of funeral parlours to shut down the collection of human remains from private and public health facilities on Monday. The department says this could lead to undesirable conditions and risks to public health.
Funeral parlours say they want the outsourcing of mortuary facilities to be recognised and legalised.
The department of health says, in a statement, that all funeral undertakers and mortuary premises must be in possession of a valid certificate.
“All funeral undertakers and mortuary premises used in connection with the preparation, storage and preservation of human remains must be in possession of a valid certificate of competence issued by the relevant local authority.”
The department also says Environmental Health Practitioners are and will continue to conduct inspections to check for compliance with lockdown regulations.
“Environmental Health Practitioners are and will continue to conduct inspections in all funeral undertakers’ premises in the country to check compliance to the regulations. Legal action will be taken against owners of premises found to be in contravention.”
Funeral parlours under pressure as death toll across SA increases:
Families urged to check for the legitimacy of funeral homes
The department has urged families to check for the legitimacy of the undertakers used for the overall management of the burial of their loved ones. Families are urged to ensure that the handling of their loved ones’ funerals are done with dignity and within the confinements of the law.
The health department has further urged people to report funeral parlours operating illegally.
“We further call upon members of the public to report any illegal operations to ensure the public can be protected from potential risks and the spread of communicable diseases as a result of poor management of human remains. We will not allow non-compliance to legislation in this sensitive area. The Department of Health is willing to continue with talks with the funeral parlour sector to come to an amicable solution,” the department said in a statement.
The department says people can contact Environmental Health Practitioners in their districts or metropolitan municipalities for assistance with the handling of human remains and regarding adherence to lockdown regulations.