Undertakers demand land as funeral sector embarks on three-day strike

There will be no burials today as thousands of funeral industry employees have downed tools. eNCA's Tshego Moagi is monitoring the strike in Gauteng. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - The Unification Task Team is demanding land so smaller undertakers can build its own storage facilities.

It's taking part in a three-day strike in the funeral and undertaking sector.

The task team says while its industrial action continues, government must collect corpses from hospitals and homes.

Funeral parlour directors are also demanding that the outsourcing of mortuary facilities be recognised and legalised.

READ: Over 3,000 funeral industry workers threaten to strike

Thousands of funeral industry employees have downed tools on Monday.

They are refusing to collect corpses from both government and private hospitals as well as homes.

Protesters made a stand outside Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital.

READ: Health dept concerned over planned strike by funeral sector

"Our government is not listening to us, that's why we have decided to shut down for the following three days," Kgomotso Langa, a UTT member said.

"Unfortunately, we are crying with our families and our clients but at this stage, we have to do what we have to do.

"We are advising the community and the public at large, to call the forensic [services] so they can go and pick up the bodies at home."

Langa stated collection of bodies from residences is actually a government responsibility.

COVID-19 in SA: At least 20 more deaths reported 

Funeral parlour directors also want the amendment of municipal by-laws to enable cluster storage. 

The department says funeral parlours must be in possession of a valid competence certificate and inspections will continue.