Home Affairs secure interdict against funeral parlour group

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Funeral undertakers protest at the Department of Home Affairs Head Offices in Pretoria. (Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)
Funeral undertakers protest at the Department of Home Affairs Head Offices in Pretoria. (Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)
  • Department spokesperson David Hlabane said the interdict forms part of the contingency plan of the department to ensure that people who need Home Affairs services are not inconvenienced. 
  • Companies, under the banner of Unification Task Team (UTT) want the department to amend regulations so they have the right to remove bodies from mortuaries, hospitals, and forensic laboratories for burial.
  • UTT spokesperson Muzi Hlengwa told News24 they were going to shut down all offices regardless of the interdict.  

The Department of Home Affairs has been granted a court interdict prohibiting undertakers from intimidating staff and people visiting the department's offices.

The interdict also prohibits them from damaging any Home Affairs property.

Department spokesperson David Hlabane said the interdict formed part of their contingency plan to ensure that people who needed Home Affairs services were not inconvenienced.

READ | Funeral parlour grouping accuses Home Affairs of 'undermining' them, threatens to shut head office

"The interdict was served to them on Tuesday. The department has regular lines of communications with members of the Unification Task Team (UTT). They have used these lines of communications to raise issues of concern to them. Some of the issues they have raised with us fall under the mandate of the Department of Health and local municipalities."

A grouping of funeral associations and forums, under the banner of UTT, wants the department to amend regulations so it has the right to remove bodies from mortuaries, hospitals, and forensic laboratories for burial.

"In the regular engagements with the UTT, the department has indicated the need to consult the Department of Health and the local municipalities through the SA Local Government Association (Salga). The consultations between the departments of Home Affairs and Health and Salga on the issues raised by UTT are taking place," Hlabane said. 

ALSO READ | Undertakers protest at Home Affairs over death certificates

He said two outcomes of engagements was an agreement to grant provisional designation for funeral parlours or undertakers to temporarily conduct business relating to Home Affairs registration of deaths.

He said:

The second decision was to grant this permission to those not yet designated to apply and register deaths for a period of 12 months while the three state entities find a lasting solution to the issues raised by the UTT, especially those relating to regulations. The regular lines of communications between the department and UTT remain open.

UTT spokesperson Muzi Hlengwa told News24 they were going to shut down all Home Affairs offices regardless of the interdict.  

"We are going to defend ourselves; we will shut down Home Affairs and as many offices as possible. They did not give us any opportunity to defend ourselves. When we reach an agreement, they change it behind our backs and enough is enough. We will be protesting for the rest of the week and obstruct all the operations at Home Affairs offices."


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