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Funerals must be held within 5 days: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on level 3

29 December 2020 - 11:33 By kgothatso madisa
Family members gather to bury a loved one at Cambrian Cemetery in Ekurhuleni.
Family members gather to bury a loved one at Cambrian Cemetery in Ekurhuleni.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo

In the next two weeks, grieving families will have to hold burials within five days after deaths have occurred and funeral proceedings may not take longer than two hours.

These form part of the new lockdown level 3 regulations that were gazetted by co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Funerals have been identified as superspreader events, especially the after-burial functions known as “after tears”.

Dlamini-Zuma on Tuesday pleaded with people to adhere to the new stricter measures.

She said that only 50 people can be allowed to attend a funeral under the strict rule that those attending sit at least 1.5 metres from each other.

“At the funeral, everyone has to wear a mask. Please wear your mask, sanitise, social distance. And we are urging that the funeral should not take more than two hours. It can take less but it should not take more than two hours,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

“Still, night vigils are not allowed. 'After tears' and gatherings after funerals are not allowed and this is because funerals are superspreaders because people tend to sing, sometimes they hug and so on. So the shorter the service the better.”

These strict measures will be reviewed in two weeks to determine whether they should be relaxed, tightened or maintained.

Dlamini-Zuma urged churches, which can only accommodate 50 people, to rather opt to get singers so that the rest of the church members do not sing. She said this would also help in ensuring the virus does not spread further.

"After tears" gatherings, which were not traditionally a SA custom, have become a great concern, Dlamini-Zuma said.

“We are pleading, particularly, that night vigils should not be held. Immediately after the funeral, people should go to their homes and there shouldn’t be any gatherings after the burial. Especially this thing that I do not know what it is, this thing called 'after tears' where people celebrate, is also prohibited for now,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Not much has changed in terms of public transport, except that the wearing of masks is now compulsory and that those not wearing masks will be liable for prosecution.