Banning white and Indian funeral parlours from black communities illegal, says Doves Group CEO

2018-01-20 18:33
Corpse awaiting burial. (iStock)

Corpse awaiting burial. (iStock)

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Durban – A call made by the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (Nafupa-SA) to ban all white and Indian funeral companies from black communities is illegal and can lead to violence, says the Doves Group.

The association has been lobbying since December to ban all white and Indian owned funeral parlours from black communities, specifically those in the KZN area, from the 1st of February, with threats of violence against the parlours and those who support them, being spread across social media networks.  

White and Indian undertakers not welcome

In a statement issued last week, Nafupa-SA Secretary General Nkosentsha Shezi, said black businesses were not given business by Indian or white families.

“This portion of the market is "reserved" for Indians and whites only, therefore it is not fair for these companies, who have a reserved market, to also come in our areas and compete with us,” said Shezi. 

“We took a decision to stop these companies operating in our areas so that we can begin to build township economy. We want to create job opportunities for our unemployed youth and create a legacy for our future generations,” Shezi said.

Shezi urged people to stop hiring the services of white and Indian funeral parlours.

“Black families who have claims must take cash from these companies and hire services of black funeral service providers. Should families find difficulty in claiming cash from these companies, they must call us for help,” he said.

Threats illegal and unsustainable

Khandani Msibi, the Chief Executive Officer of Doves Group, said he had met with Nafupa-SA to discuss threats against Doves funeral parlours, which became a 100% black-owned and controlled business in 2006, when it was acquired by the Numsa Investment Company.

“Nafupa-SA refuses to exclude Doves Group from their illegal embargo of white business into the townships for reasons that defy logic,” he said.

“Whilst we can fully align with the aspirations of black business, we do not think the route being taken is sustainable even for black business. The actions of Nafupu-SA in preventing white business from trading in townships by force is illegal,” said Msibi.

“We do not subscribe to the use of force and coercion against white business as it is both illegal and will not result in sustainability. We should reflect and begin to change the industry in a manner that will make all operators successful,” he said.

Threats from a breakaway group

The National Funeral Parlour Association (Nafupa) has distanced itself from the threats being made.

Speaking at a media briefing in Glenwood last week, Nafupa public relations officer, Mlungisi Chiliza, said they were not part of a call made by a breakaway faction of their organisation.

Chiliza said Nafupa-SA were a group of disgruntled members who had broken away from the organisation, which was founded in 2015.

“They went as far as saying they will burn the vehicles of these businesses and, as Nafupa, we cannot allow this to happen,” Chiliza said.

IFP calls for action to prevent violence

The Inkatha Freedom Party leader in the provincial legislature, Blessed Gwala, called on the KZN provincial government to urgently institute measures to prevent violence in the funeral industry.

“We are not against radical economic transformation, but it must happen according to the parameters of the law,” he said.

“Once you start saying all Indians are like that and all whites are like that, you are running into a very dangerous situation, which is not in keeping with the spirit in what we are trying to achieve. We must rise and act towards social cohesion and inclusion,” said Gwala.

Gwala said people had the right to be members of any funeral insurance company they wanted, and that the Constitution of the country said anyone could trade anywhere in the country.

Gwala said emerging funeral undertakers should be empowered through skills development and have access to funding so that they can be able to compete with other successful businesses.

*This story has been amended to correct the name of the Doves Group CEO

Read more on:    nafupa sa

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