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.

FSB communication forum to be established

The FSB invited all interested parties to a meeting on 10 June, where a Communication Forum was proposed as a networking platform to improve communication channels between the Board and funeral parlours.

Funeral parlours that do not belong to an association but have an influence on other funeral parlours in their area as well as associations, will nominate people who will form part of the communication champions. These communication champions will be the eyes, ears, hands and legs of the regulator to assist in identifying concerns from colleagues (other funeral parlours around their areas), assist and support new joiners and or organise training sessions with FAIS Training Facilitators.

It was agreed that the nominations will have to be regional instead of provincial due to the fact that some associations are not represented provincially or nationally. Each and every association attending was given a nomination form and Licence Application Guide for the Communication Champ they are going to nominate. The nominated must familiarise themselves with the guide before FAIS Trainers can conduct national training workshops.

Nominations are expected by the latest 10 July 2015.

Medupi power station delayed because the ancestors are upset

The reason the Medupi power station is suffering delays is because graves were disturbed during construction, upsetting the ancestors, the CRL Rights Commission said on Tuesday.

“How come this Medupi never comes together?” asked commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi in Johannesburg at the release of a report on the re-use of graves by local governments. “It’s the bones underneath and in the vicinity. Some of the graves were destroyed there,” she said of the power station near Lephalale, Limpopo.

“The belief systems of some people will tell you that this Medupi dream of yours will never happen. It will be another 10 years.”

Construction of the power station has been beset by delays and strikes by contractors. She said the commission would send a report to Eskom on how to deal with the “bones that were strewn around” in a way that was culturally and religiously sustainable.

The report by the CRL Commission, a Chapter 9 institution that protects cultural and religious practices and linguistic communities, was compiled following complaints that several municipalities around the country were “recycling” graves.

Mkhwanazi said the ANC-run eThekwini municipality, the main culprit in grave recycling, was disrespecting cultural values. “For this to happen 21 years into democracy, for the ANC not to value the dead people, it tells you we are in a crisis. It tells us our values are not valued by those in power,” she continued.

The commission had received “a ton” of complaints from residents in several municipalities around the country, mainly from eThekwini. People were upset to find strangers buried in their relatives’ graves, and tombstones being removed and replaced with those of unrelated people. She said it was hard to reverse the effects, in terms of spirituality and cultural beliefs, of having a “Smith buried on top of a Naidoo on top of a Mkhwanazi”. “If we allow the eThekwini municipality to continue, other municipalities are likely to gravitate towards doing this. The new struggle is to have access to our forefathers,” she said.

According to African beliefs, the ancestor is believed to be living with God and playing a prominent, intercessory role in the life of a particular family, she explained. “This is your Jesus, it takes you to God,” she said.

“Recycling” a grave was akin to bombing a mosque. When people spoke to their ancestors, “I call them from the grave, not from some black plastic bag where they have been recycled,” she said.
“A grave is a place of communicating with those who have gone before,” said the commission’s deputy chairperson, Luka Mosoma.

Mkhwanazi said the practice was affecting the poor the worst, as they could not afford headstones and municipalities were re-using these graves. “The bigger the tombstone, the less likely you are to be recycled. This makes the poor people poorer, because if you don’t have the ancestors backing you, you are more likely to be poor.”

She said the eThekwini municipality’s procedure was to advertise its intention in the classified section of newspapers, but questioned if people saw these adverts. Local government’s position on the matter was that suitable land for cemeteries was fast becoming depleted, she said. “They are making it a land struggle. What local government is saying is very dangerous.”

The first prize, she said, was “one body one grave”. A weak second option was for municipalities to discuss recycling graves with affected relatives and communities before doing it. Mkhwanazi said the commission had held talks with local government, Parliament, the SA Local Government Association (Salga), and others.

“We are going to be much more aggressive. We’ve tried being nice. We are going to let the Constitution speak.” She called for national legislation on the matter. If the practice continued, the commission would ask its lawyers to approach the courts for them to determine “what now?” We hope this thing can be solved over a cup of tea. We are willing to give it one more try within a couple of weeks,” she added.

Salga’s Mvuyisi April said municipalities were “seriously running out of space”, but that there was no room for municipalities to violate rights. Salga was looking at striking a balance between managing space and respecting people’s rights, he said.