Funeral sector strike may lead to ‘undesired conditions and risk to public health’: health department
The national department of health warned on Sunday that the planned shutdown by the funeral sector may lead to “undesired conditions and risks to public health”.
Department spokesperson Popo Maja said they had had two meetings with the funeral industry after an open letter by the National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (Nafupa).
Maja said Nafupa was the only association that had written to them.
Maja said 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.
He said that environmental health practitioners would continue to conduct inspections of funeral undertakers’ premises in the country to check on compliance with the regulations.
He warned that legal action would be taken against owners of premises found to be in contravention.
Family members are urged to check the legitimacy of the undertakers and agents being used for the burial of their loved ones to ensure proper tracking and tracing are in place, Maja said.
He said environmental health practitioners in district and metropolitan municipalities can be contacted for assistance on any issues relating to the management of human remains and for advice to ensure compliance with the regulations.
“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.”