Lockdown: Govt relaxes regulations for funerals - here's what you need to know

2020-04-02 15:40
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (Getty Images)

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South Africans hoping to say their final goodbyes to loved ones will now face an easier process to attend funerals during the 21-day national lockdown.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has amended the regulations governing the Covid-19 lockdown, allowing for travel between cities and provinces specifically for those attending funerals.

Dlamini-Zuma noted the amendments in a government gazette on Thursday.

Last week, the High Court in Mpumalanga dismissed an application by a man who wanted to be granted permission to attend his grandfather's funeral in the Eastern Cape.

The updated regulations stipulate that only the following people, in relation to the deceased, may attend the funeral:

  • a spouse or partner;
  • a child of the deceased, whether biological, adopted or stepchild;
  • a child-in-law of the deceased;
  • a parent, whether biological, adopted or stepparent;
  • a sibling, whether biological, adopted or stepbrother or sister;
  • a grandparent;
  • or a person closely affiliated to the deceased.

The regulations define a "person closely affiliated to the deceased" as "a person with parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the deceased" or "a person who had developed a significant relationship based on caregiving, psychological or emotional attachment to the deceased".

Applying for a travel permit

While the regulations allow for travel between cities, districts and provinces, mourners who want to attend a burial or cremation will first need to apply for a permit from a magistrate "who is the head of office" or from a station commander at a police station.

To apply for a permit, people will need to fill out a form, listed as Form 2 in the gazette, and present the deceased's death certificate or a certified copy thereof.

READ: As per lockdown laws, only 50 mourners at Doctor Khumalo's mother's funeral

If a death certificate is not yet available, the applicant will be required to make a sworn affidavit.

The regulations come with several restrictions, including barring travellers from staying with relatives or friends for the duration of the funeral.

They will be allowed to stay at a hotel, lodge or a guest house and will need to present their permit to the owner or staff.

Successful applicants will not be allowed to stay in the area of the funeral for more than 48 hours.

The lockdown regulations continue to bar night vigils from being held and the limit of 50 people still remains.

"The amendments allow certain individuals to move between provinces, metropolitan and district areas for purposes of transporting a body for burial purposes," said the ministry in a statement.

If the deceased person's remains are being transported to another city or province, only two relatives or "a person with a close affiliation to the deceased" will be allowed to accompany the vehicle transporting the remains to their final destination.

These two people will also need to apply and be issued permits.

A copy of Form 2 and the amended regulations can be found here.

Read more on:    nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  coronavirus  |  lockdown
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