South Africans urged to bury dead within four days amid load shedding, heatwave

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Unrelenting load shedding, coupled with a heatwave across parts of South Africa are causing bodies to decay much faster at funeral parlours, according to an industry body.
Unrelenting load shedding, coupled with a heatwave across parts of South Africa are causing bodies to decay much faster at funeral parlours, according to an industry body.
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Unrelenting load shedding coupled with a heatwave across parts of South Africa are causing bodies to decay much faster at funeral parlours, an industry body has warned.

The South African Funeral Practitioners Association’s (SAFPA) national secretary-general Vuyisile Mabindisa urged people to bury their loved ones within four days of their death to ease pressure on funeral parlours, and to ensure that they are buried with minimal decay.

"The industry is seeing a large number of putrefied bodies being buried. Burying one’s kin within four days, or less, is cost-effective and prevents families from seeing their departed ones in a poor state of decomposition," Mabindisa said in a statement on Tuesday.

South Africa experienced over 200 days of load shedding in 2022, while every day of 2023 has seen load shedding, including six days of Stage 6.

Mabindisa said the current heatwave was causing the rate of decomposition to skyrocket. According the SA Weather Service, parts of KwaZulu-Natal, including Pietermaritzburg, are expected to approach a high of nearly 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. 

"Take a 45-year-old man with a history of diabetes: the minute he passes, he will start bloating within an hour. So if our refrigerators cannot manage decaying bodies, then we are looking at a disaster," Mabindisa said.

"Load shedding has a ripple effect on the bereaved. Besides seeing their loved ones decay at a rapid rate, they have to endure delays in the death certificate registration process at Home Affairs because of load shedding. This forces families to postpone the burial for a later date."

 

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