Striking Soweto undertakers protest outside Bara

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Upcoming and small undertakers staged protests outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Soweto, on Monday. 
  • Those striking were on the lookout for colleagues who are not participating in their three-day strike. 
  • Among their demands s that government designate a department to which all undertakers could report. 

A small group of owners and workers of small undertakers in Soweto staged a peaceful protest outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Diepkloof, Soweto. 

They were at the hospital on the lookout for their colleagues who were suspected of operating while many had opted to down tools nationwide. 

The strike, which started on Monday, is expected to end on Wednesday. 

Among their demands is that government designate a dedicated department which all undertakers could report to. 

Undertakers claimed that they currently had to report to the local government, home affairs, and economic development departments. 

Soweto undertakers task team facilitator Muzi Magubane said that as aspiring and upcoming undertakers in Soweto, they felt that government undermined their profession. 

Magubane told News24 that government did not want to give them land where they could operate their businesses. 

"We [are] also demand funding from government," said Magubane. 

Last year, undertakers went to Pretoria where they protested for recognition and funding from government. 

ALSO READ| 3-day shutdown call by funeral industry poses serious public health risk, warns Health Dept

"Government has never responded to our memorandum we delivered last year. We have since been tasked with mapping a way forward to get government's attention. 

"There won’t be any removals from government mortuaries and government and private hospitals from Monday until Wednesday. We are here to ensure that no undertaker leaves with a body from this hospital," Magubane said. 

Magubane said that they were protecting their industry at large. 

"We are not being taken seriously by our government. Our plea for land to operate our business from is not considered by government. We are rendered as fly-by-nights by many people because government doesn't take us seriously. 

"The present government doesn't mind engaging with other sectors like the taxi industry while undertakers are being ignored. We request government to help us as a collective with funds, where we can build storages [sic] for bodies before burial," said Magubane. 

Small undertakers are currently renting storage facilities from other undertakers to store their bodies. 

"For us to work, we need our own storages and Certificate of Competence (CoC). You will only obtain the CoC once you have storage facilities and have been declared complaint by environmental officers," said Magubane. 

The strike continues on Tuesday morning outside the hospital. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 716 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 8450 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1008 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.