- Funeral parlours in the Durban CBD were shut down by protestors on Monday.
- The protestors, who are made up of various funeral associations, vowed that no parlour would be open while they strike.
- They have demanded more transformation in the funeral industry.
Funerals and the collection of bodies have ground to a halt in Durban CBD as various funeral associations affiliated to the Unification Task Team (UTT) in Durban protested and shut down funeral parlours as part of their three-day strike.
Convenor for UTT in KwaZulu-Natal Muzi Hlengwa said that two weeks ago they met with the national director-general in the health department.
The group is demanding that the outsourcing of mortuaries be legalised, to contribute to transformation of the industry, and assist small-emerging businesses.
They also demand that a certificate of competence should only be requested from undertakers who are handling the storage of bodies.
UTT said the South African government had not done enough to ensure the industry was diverse and transformed. It said that since 1994, the industry was still dominated by “white minority capital” and a handful of “black elites”.
He said agreements were made and resolutions were reached.
“We waited for government to give us the outcome of the meeting in writing. However, in return, all we got is that they circulated a different instruction to the department of health. As a result, we had no [choice] but to embark on a strike with the rest of industry.”
Hlengwa said the strike, which is part of a national shutdown, will go on for three days.
“We are going to make it stronger each day. It is the first time this industry has embarked on a strike. We are not too many, we are business people. We have managed to make sure [that] if there are people disobeying the shutdown [they] are brought into order.”
He stood by his word forcibly shutting down at least two funeral services in the Durban CBD.
News24 reported that the UTT – a grouping of 17 funeral associations and forums planned their protest from Monday to Wednesday.
During the planned shutdown, there would be no removal of bodies from hospitals or homes and there would be no burials, UTT national coordinator, Peter Matlatle, told News24 on Sunday.