Revised regulations on crematoriums critical with increased cremations

Issued by Jacques Smalle MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
01 Aug 2023 in News
  • Crematoriums all over the country have reported major backlogs.
  • The government has failed to monitor and regulate the industry.
  • To address this pressing issue the DA is currently engaged in a consultative process that will culminate in among others recommendations for control and minimum operational standards for crematoriums.

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbite by Jacques Smalle MP.

The DA is currently engaged in a consultative process that will culminate in recommendations for revising regulations that deal with licencing, control and minimum operational standards for crematoriums. The current system is chaotic and is failing to protect the dignity of the deceased and their loved ones.

The piling up of bodies at various morgues across the country and the latest visits by members of The Funeral Industry Reformed Association (FIRA) at Pine Haven, Krugerdorp, exposed the Gauteng government’s inability to monitor and regulate the industry.

There is a greater need to strengthen the human resource capacity of forensic pathology services across the country to avoid late issuing out of D28 forms which has led to the decomposing of bodies at places like Hillbrow and Pine Haven Mortuary.

According to the Funeral Industry Reformed Association (FIRA), storing bodies was becoming nearly impossible due to the limited crematoriums and storage facilities available in some provinces.

Crematoriums are overwhelmed and have reported major backlogs. Morgues are unable to efficiently dispose of piled-up bodies due to an inconsistent and outdated regulatory framework. Ordinarily, provinces should be playing a more prominent role on this sensitive environment.

Time frames for permits are adequate, but there are no controls to ensure that illegal substances are not imported and exported with deceased persons.

Additionally, it is important to establish regulatory bodies such as an implementation agency, ombudsman and a bargaining council to advise the government and help regularise the funeral sector. Public complaints should be urgently attended to even in the absence of a dedicated funeral industry ombudsman.

At present, there are also no minimum standards on, for example, coffins causing possible pollution at crematoriums and possible pollution of underground water. The same applies to zoning of parlours, cemeteries and crematoriums operating in or close to residential areas.

The deceased should be treated with respect and dignity. The state must uphold the right of bereaved families to know what happened to their loved ones.

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