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NFDA Constitution – Proposed amendments 2017

Prepared by Alan Lindhorst on behalf of the National Executive of the NFDA, January 2017,
to be tabled at the AGM of the NFDA on Tuesday 7th February 2017 at Hemingways Casino, East London

A. PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE TERM OF OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT & VICE-PRESIDENT
The current clause on the term of office is as follows:

4.2 TERM OF OFFICE

4.2.1 The President and Vice President shall be elected for a period of three (3)
years. He/she may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.

The proposal is to limit the term of office to two years, to read as follows:

4.2.1 The President and Vice President shall be elected for a period of two (2)
years. He/she may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.

Motivation: The three year term was decided upon at the Bosberaad in Nov 2010, and written into the
new Constitution of Feb 2011. In practice it has been found to be too long, and with a double term,
this is six years. Some office bearers have resigned before their term is up (for business
reasons). The term of office for regional office bearers is two years, with two consecutive terms
allowed. The proposal is to bring the national term in line with the regional term of two years.

B. PROPOSAL TO FIRM UP THE PROCEDURES FOR APPROVAL OF APPLICATIONS TO JOIN NFDA

The current clause of the procedures to approve applications is as follows:

3.7.6 “They apply for membership (by category) on the prescribed form and their application is
proposed and seconded in writing by existing Full Members of the NFDA. After inspection of their
premises, membership is approved or declined by their Regional Executive or (if there is no
established Region, or if referred by the Regional Executive) by the National Executive of the
NFDA. No inspection is necessary in applications for Associate membership, unless human remains
are brought onto the premises (e.g. crematoria, storage mortuaries, etc.).”

The proposal is to change this to the following:

3.7.6

(i) They apply for membership (by category) on the prescribed form and their application is
proposed and seconded in writing by existing Full Members of the NFDA.
(ii) They send their form, with required attachments, either to the Administrative Manager, or to
the Regional Executive. Forms (with attachments) sent to the Regional Executive are forwarded on to
the Administrative Manager, and vice versa. (iii) They pay the required application fee into the
NFDA bank account, with a payment notification sent to the Administrative Manager.
(iv) After receipt of the documents and fee, the Administrative Manager requests the Regional
Chairperson to arrange an inspection of the premises of the applicant. If the applicant is not
based in an established or active region of the NFDA, the Administrative Manager requests a member
of the National Executive to do the inspection; but if not practicable, a Full Member in the area
can be asked.
(v) After inspection of their premises, membership is approved or declined by the Regional
Executive or (if there is no established or active Region) by the National Executive. The Regional
Executive may refer the decision to the National Executive. A report on applications approved or
declined by the Regional Executive is tabled at the next regular meeting of the National Executive.
(vi) No inspection is necessary in applications for Associate membership, unless human remains are
brought onto the premises (e.g. crematoria).

Motivation: The National Executive has clarified and firmed up the procedure for applications for
membership of the NFDA. The existing clause needs to be fleshed out to incorporate additional
detail – for the benefit of both applicants and NFDA executives.
Proposed amendments to NFDA Constitution – AGM 2017
Page 3 of 3

C. PROPOSAL TO UPDATE AUTHORITY FOR OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE

The current clause regarding official correspondence is as follows:

9.1 CORRESPONENCE
9.1.1 Correspondence on official letterheads may only be signed on behalf of the
NFDA, by:
(i) Members of the National Executive; (ii) A Regional Chairperson or Secretary
(i) The Editor of the official publication of the NFDA

9.1.2 All correspondence for the NFDA must be sent to either: (i) The official address of
the NFDA;
(ii) The address of the President, National Secretary or
Administrative Manager;
(iii) The address of a Regional Chairperson or Regional Secretary; (i) The address of
the Editor of the official publication of the NFDA.

The proposal is to update this clause to authorise officials of the NFDA that would require this in
their conduct of NFDA affairs, to send official correspondence on behalf of the NFDA , as well as
widening the list of recipient addresses – as follows: (It is proposed to leave Clause 9.1.3
unaltered – re times of delivery of mail).

9.1 CORRESPONENCE
9.1.1 Correspondence on official letterheads may only be signed on behalf of the
NFDA, by:
(i) Members of the National Executive
(ii) Officials appointed by the National Executive, namely: (a) National Secretary
(b) National Treasurer
(c) Convenor of Funeral Expo
(d) Public Relations Officer (PRO)
(e) Editor of the official publication of the NFDA (iii) Administrative Manager
(iv) A Regional Chairperson or Secretary
(v) A Member co-opted by of the National Executive for a specific responsibility –
e.g. Home Affairs Liaison Officer

9.1.2 All correspondence for the NFDA must be sent to one of the following, as applicable:
(i) The official address of the NFDA;
(ii) The address of the President, National Secretary, Treasurer or
Administrative Manager;
(vi) The address of a Regional Chairperson or Secretary; (vii) The address of the
Convenor of Funeral Expo
(viii) The address of the Editor of the official publication of the NFDA.

NFDA Responds to the Funeral Service Ombudsman

It was with great concern that we took note of recent newspaper articles and radio interviews which portray the entire funeral industry in South Africa as being in a state of complete chaos and disarray.

Certain individuals are making public announcements regarding a new regulating authority and Ombudsman that will address alleged atrocities which are rife in an “unregulated” funeral industry.

These reports are inaccurate and a distortion of the truth, but have the potential to tarnish the public image and reputation of respectable funeral establishments, whilst the driver(s) of this campaign are trying to satisfy personal ambitions.

Our intention with this letter is to present facts that will put issues into perspective and correct the misconception that all funeral service providers are conducting business according to their own rules in a completely unregulated environment.

We urge the public, whilst considering the proposed regulations and Code of Conduct for comment, to take cognisance of the following facts:

1. The funeral industry in South Africa is not free from regulation. There is an abundance of regulations which apply to funeral establishments. These laws/regulations are however contained in various statutes and by-laws. Whilst there is not an overseeing regulating authority for the funeral service industry, this is true of many industries and should not be portrayed as unusual or strange.

The funeral service industry is obligated to comply with national legislation and municipal by-laws and therefore local authorities enforce compliance. Certain other regulations, which are applicable, relate to the provision of financial services and are enforced by the Financial Services Board. These are just examples of many regulations which are applicable and therefore the term “unregulated” industry creates the incorrect impression that “anything goes”.

Non-compliance with the regulations could have serious repercussions for service providers (e.g. criminal prosecution or closure of the establishment) and therefore the public is advised to always make use of reputable establishments.

2. The majority of the larger, more prominent and long established funeral undertakings in South Africa are associated to one of three associations listed below, which in turn are associated with the Funeral Federation of South Africa (FFSA).

• National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA)
• South African Funeral Practitioners Association (SAFPA)
• Independent Funeral Directors Association (IFDA)

The FFSA and the associations affiliated to it have approximately 3 000 member organisations (businesses). These member organisations are subject to and must conform to the FFSA’s Code of Conduct providing consumers with recourse against the FFSA’s members for failing to comply with its code. The code provides an alternative dispute resolution process as would the proposed ombudsman scheme.

The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act apply to funeral service providers and consumers have recourse against unscrupulous undertakers via the National Consumer Commission (NCC).

3. There are undoubtedly unscrupulous funeral service providers in the market exploiting consumers and as such, the members of the FFSA are in favour of an industry code of conduct and the appointment of an Ombudsman for the funeral industry to protect consumers against abuse and exploitation.

During a recent meeting with the NCC, which was held to consult members of the FFSA, we declared our support for statutory governance, but we expressed the concern that role-players were not consulted on the proposed regulations and Code of Conduct before it being published in the Government Gazette.

All objections and concerns were duly noted by the NCC. The FFSA was invited to compile an alternative Industry code that would be representative of the industry and address the serious shortcomings of the code proposed by “Funeral Industry Regulatory Authority” (FIRA).

4. The organisation known as FIRA is not (contrary to the misconception created by its name) the official regulating authority for the funeral industry and has no statutory authority, nor does it represent any constituency other than its own directors.

The directors of FIRA developed the proposed regulations and Code of Conduct without consultation with any other industry role-players. The Code of Conduct proposed by FIRA is fundamentally flawed and is not endorsed by the FFSA. A certain director of the company has had a chequered career in the funeral industry, amongst others being involved in two failed funeral companies, unsuccessfully attempted to have a funeral training college accredited by SSETA, having at least one civil judgement against him (awarded with costs), being a recipient of at least one attorney’s letter regarding defamation of character and/or slander, and being the originator of an unsuccessful, multi-million rand document (paid for by the tax payer) proposing to change legislation relating to funeral directors. Objections and concerns were raised during the recent meeting between the NCC and members of the FFSA.

We trust that the above will put matters regarding this burning issue into perspective and we would like to suggest that the media approaches the FFSA and/or the affiliated associations for comment to obtain an objective and balanced overview of the industry at large.

NFDA Not Opposed to a Funeral Service Ombudsman

The NFDA is not opposed to the introduction of a funeral services ombudsman- in fact we welcome it. We do, however, have an issue with the way that the Funeral Services Code was gazetted without any consultation. Consultation takes place before the fact, not after.
Johan Rosseau of FIRA has stated, on radio, that his research is available to anyone who requests it. A member of the NFDA EXCO has written to him, asking for a copy of these documents. It would be interesting to see the outcome of this request.


We would also like to know what constitutes being an expert in the funeral industry? Is it the number of years that a person has worked in the industry, or the number of funeral businesses that you have run?
Many of the stories that have been run on FIRA’s social media pages date back many years. These incidents are rehashed, making them seem as if they have occurred recently. Whilst we do not doubt that there are instances of poor service, and of companies acting in an unethical manner, we feel that the number of transgressions has decreased in the past years, mainly due to the existence of various associations.


If we take that there are 54 000 000 people in SA, and we have a death rate of around 13.05 deaths per 1000 people, we have about 700 000 funerals per annum in SA. The number of complaints that we receive, or hear about, is minute in comparison with the number of funerals conducted. We would like it if there were no complaints at all, but we are dealing with people who are fallible, so mistakes can happen.


The NFDA is of the opinion that the current process of the appointment of a funeral services ombudsman is reminiscent of the drafting of the ill-fated Gauteng Funeral Regulations that was developed at great cost to the province a few years ago by the same person that is pushing the Funeral Services Code.

NFDA & Genlife agreement

The NFDA and Genlife Financial Services have signed an agreement whereby all members of the NFDA joining Genlife as from 1 July 2015 will in fact be contributing to the strengthening of their Association. Genlife has a sincere appreciation for the educating role (amongst others) the NFDA is playing within the funeral industry and would like to see the message of the NFDA advocated more rigorously. As a funeral group scheme administrator Genlife has invested heavily in processes that assist funeral directors in managing and growing their business. Funeral directors can now grow their business outside of their traditional operating area by making use of the Online Policy Application Facility that can be downloaded onto the website of all participating members. This is a complete online policy application function from quote stage to application stage. The development has been done in such a way that the online application is promoted as a facility offered by funeral directors to their clients and is not introduced as a Genlife function. The Genlife call centre is responsible to call all clients on behalf of the participating funeral director and the required voice logging process is completed by the call centre. Genlife is currently underwriting with Sanlam, Safrican, KGA and Metropolitan. Genlife is also assisting the NFDA in various other areas such as arranging golf days.

Genlife is a well-established Funeral Group Scheme Administrator and would appreciate an opportunity to provide members of the NFDA with a quotation for underwriting their business. Interested funeral directors can call the office at Pretoria 012 450 5581 or Lorraine at 082 338 3993.

Enquiries can be sent to admin@genlife.co.za – www.genlife.co.za. Their rates are extremely competitive and combined with their web based funeral administration software, excellent service and competent staff Genlife can offer you service beyond expectation.

NFDA CONSTITUTION – CONDITIONS OF MEMBERSHIP

PLEASE STUDY THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY TO MAKE SURE YOU ADHERE TO THESE CONDITIONS:

Members and prospective members need to comply with the following requirements, as applicable to their category of membership:

  • They have all licences/permits required by law for the operation from their premises of funeral services; including any required by any Health Department or other government department or competent authority;
  • They provide the names, addresses and ID numbers of the owner, company directors, CC members, or partners (as the case may be); and if registered as a company or close corporation they shall provide a certified copy of the certificate of registration/incorporation. In the event of a change of ownership, they need to provide new information within sixty (60) days, to facilitate continuity of membership, failing which membership will lapse;
  • Should an existing Full or Limited Member open an additional office, (whether operational or non-operational) the members shall, within 60 days of the opening of that office, apply for membership of the NFDA for that office. Should a Full or Limited Member close an office, the member shall, within 60 days of closure, cancel in writing the membership of that office and shall return all NFDA property relating to that closed office;
  • They agree to be bound by the inter company tariffs set by the NFDA and the Funeral Federation of South Africa (‘FFSA’). Should a non-member of the NFDA or FFSA make use of a Member’s mortuary facilities, that non-member shall also be bound by all NFDA and FFSA agreements relating to inter-company charges: (a) The non-member may only charge NFDA/FFSA rates to other funeral directors (being NFDA/FFSA members) for removals and related services. (b) However, the non-member is not entitled to any benefits of NFDA or FFSA membership, such as preferential removal rates, whether or not the removal is done by the host NFDA Member (on behalf of the non-member);

Full Members (National) and Limited Members (i.e. membership categories for funeral directors), who fall within the boundaries of an established region of the NFDA, are expected to attend at least one general meeting (regional or national) of the NFDA per calendar year, to remain in good standing. The Regional or National Executive of the NFDA may, at their discretion, for good reason, absolve a Member of this obligation for a particular calendar year.