Undertakers vow to push for demands to be met as home affairs gets interdict.

The department of home affairs has obtained an interdict prohibiting members of the Unification Task Team (UTT) representing undertakers from intimidating staff and visitors at its offices. The interdict, served on UTT on Tuesday, also prohibits its members from damaging home affairs property. The order was granted as undertakers, under the UTT umbrella, embarked on what it said would be a national shutdown of home affairs offices around the country until their demands were met.

“The interdict forms part of the contingency plan of the department to ensure that people who need home affairs services are not inconvenienced. Some of the issues they have raised with us fall under the mandate of the department of health and local municipalities. 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, health and Salga on the issues raised by UTT are taking place,” said home affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza.

During the engagements, Qoza said the parties agreed on granting the provisional designation for funeral parlours or undertakers to temporarily conduct business relating to home affairs registration of deaths. As part of this agreement, applications to be designated funeral undertakers were required to comply with the following:

Proof of a storage lease agreement as certification of the business relationship for processing or keeping and cold storage of the deceased with a facility issued with a certificate of competence. A certificate of competence of the person (lessor) leasing the premises or part thereof, taking into account that the lessor may only lease premises or part of the premises with a valid certificate of competence.

“The second decision was to grant this permission to those not yet designated to apply for provisional designation 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,” Qoza said.

UTT spokesperson Muzi Hlengwa said they would continue with the shutdown until the department agreed to issue them with permanent designation.

“Until we get the answer from home affairs, we will continue to shut them down, irrespective of the court order. It is not necessary to get an interdict while we are negotiating. All we want is a permanent designation,” he said.

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