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.

Numsa Investment Co. to create umbrella retirement fund

Numsa Investment Company, the investment arm of South Africa’s largest trade union, has applied for a section 13B licence to set up an umbrella fund such that employees at small factories will be able to invest in its retirement fund.

Khandani Msibi, CEO and executive chairman of Numsa Investment Company, said factories with ten to 150 employees will be able to invest in the new fund, which is to be based on a similar model to its joint venture with financial services firm 10X Investments. “10X will do the investments, but costs will be the key driver of the system that we are coming up with,” Msibi told reporters at an investment roundtable in Johannesburg.

He said the decision to set up an umbrella fund follows numerous requests by employees at small factories, who had heard of the relative success of the existing Numsa Investment Company-10X passive investment model. This, after the historic investment returns on its joint venture retirement fund – servicing employees at a Ford motors plant in Port Elizabeth – outpaced the returns on the automotive company’s own fund, he said.

“Last year, the returns for Ford were around 5.5% and 10X was 9% and they were claiming it was because of Nenegate but we said ‘10X was also exposed to Nenegate – everybody who was investing was exposed’. The numbers, when we compare them, show a R3.6 billion benefit to workers over 20 years given the two styles of investment,” he said.

According to Steven Nathan, CEO of 10X Investments, the average automotive industry worker has around R400 000 in their provident fund, largely due to a union-mandated contribution rate of around 17% and low staff turnover in the industry.

Speaking at the launch of 10X’s #StopDaylightRobbery campaign, Nathan also said that high investment fees are likely to have a damaging long-term effect on investors’ retirement income. “That is the harsh reality of investment costs: they compound in an unexpected and dramatic manner, and have a disproportionate impact on the long-term savings outcome,” he said, noting that fees have been shown to be the single biggest indicator of how investments will perform.

Msibi told Moneyweb that the umbrella fund will fall under the domain of Numsa Investment Company’s 360 Financial Services Group; its subsidiaries Union Life and UiPlay will provide administrative support. He expects the Financial Services Board to formally grant Numsa Investment Company the section 13B licence in the coming weeks and is aiming to launch the umbrella fund at the Numsa Special National Congress in mid-December.

Source: Moneyweb

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.

KZN Trio Used “Loaned” Corpse in Fraudulent Insurance Claim – Police

Three people are expected to appear in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Monday for alleged insurance fraud involving a “loaned” corpse, the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal said on Wednesday.

The three, aged between 38 and 52, appeared in the court on May 25, where they were each granted R5 000 bail and their case was postponed, spokesperson Lieutenant Simphiwe Mhlongo said. According to an SABC report, the alleged multi-million-rand fraud syndicate involved a private security company. Two of the three suspects are a security guard and a funeral parlour employee.

The matter came to light when an insurance company approached police with suspicions about a claim. They determined that a 40-year-old woman had lodged a life insurance claim for her uncle. She was the main beneficiary of the policy.  Police apparently discovered that the uncle had died years earlier, but that Home Affairs had no record of it.

The woman allegedly colluded with a funeral parlour, which “loaned” her a corpse that matched her uncle. A doctor allegedly certified that the person had died from natural causes.

Source – NEWS24

Service SETA Training

A special committee has been set up by the Service SETA, made up of four NFDA, four SAFPA and two IFDA members.  This committee will meet once a quarter to assist with training-related activities such as evaluating learning materials, determining training needs in the industry, ensuring training of assessors and moderators, and providing input for the development of a new qualification.

Service SETA put out a tender in December 2015 for a project manager to oversee training in the industry, and this committee will work closely with the company that has been awarded the tender.

In the meantime two training providers have been accredited by the SETA, and will soon start with training and RPL.  These are Nomatye Funeral Services from East London with Ms Daphne Mbewana as manager, and ATTI (Advanced Technology Training Institute) from Nelspruit. More provider accreditation is in the pipeline, so things are going to start happening in the training arena.  Get ready or prepare your staff to soon obtain much needed and long overdue qualifications.

Genes Get Active After Death – New Scientist

 

When a doctor declares a person dead, some of their body may still be alive and kicking – at least for a day or two. New evidence in animals suggests that many genes go on working for up to 48 hours after the lights have gone out.

This hustle and bustle has been seen in mice and zebrafish, but there are hints that genes are also active for some time in deceased humans. This discovery could have implications for the safety of organ transplants, and can also help pathologists pinpoint a time of death more precisely, perhaps to within minutes of the event.

Peter Noble and Alex Pozhitkov at the University of Washington, Seattle, and their colleagues investigated the activity of genes in the organs of mice and zebrafish immediately after death. They did this by measuring the amount of messenger RNA present. An increase in this mRNA – which genes use to tell cells to make products such as proteins – indicates that genes are more active.

Noble’s team measured mRNA levels in zebrafish, and in brain and liver samples from mice at regular intervals for up to four days after death. They then compared these with mRNA levels measured at the time of death.

“Hundreds of genes with different functions woke up after death, including fetal development genes”

As you might expect, overall mRNA levels decreased over time. However, mRNA associated with 548 zebrafish genes and 515 mouse genes saw one or more peaks of activity after death. This meant there was sufficient energy and cellular function for some genes to be switched on and stay active long after the animal died.

These genes cycled through peaks and dips in activity in a “non-winding down” manner, unlike the chaotic behaviour of the rest of the decaying DNA, says Noble.

Hundreds of genes with different functions “woke up” immediately after death. These included fetal development genes that usually turn off after birth, as well as genes that have previously been associated with cancer. Their activity peaked about 24 hours after death.

A similar process might occur in humans. Previous studies have shown that various genes, including those involved in contracting heart muscle and wound healing, were active more than 12 hours after death in humans who had died from multiple trauma, heart attack or suffocation (Forensic Science International, doi.org/bj63).

The fact that some genes associated with cancer are activated after death in animals, might be relevant for reducing the incidence of cancer in people who receive organ transplants, says Noble. People who get a new liver, for example, have more cancers after the treatment than you would expect if they hadn’t had a transplant. The regime of drugs they need to take for life to suppress their immune system so it doesn’t attack the new organ may contribute to this, but Noble says it is worth investigating if activated cancer genes in the donor liver could play a part.

So why do so many genes wake up after death? It is possible that many of the genes become active as part of physiological processes that aid healing or resuscitation after severe injury. For example, after death, some cells might have enough energy to kick-start genes involved in the inflammation process to protect against damage – just as they would if the body were alive.

Alternatively, a rapid decay of genes that normally suppress other genes – such as those involved in embryological development – might allow the usually quiet genes to become active for a short period of time.

For forensic scientists, knowing how gene activity rises and falls at different time points after death is useful for working out when someone died. Measuring mRNA would allow us to nail down the time since death to hours and possibly even minutes, rather than days, helping to reconstruct events surrounding the death.

It is good to see such progress being made in this area, says Graham Williams, consultant forensic geneticist at the University of Huddersfield, UK. “But substantial work is required before this could be applied to case work.”

The research also raises important questions about our definition of death – normally accepted as the cessation of a heartbeat, brain activity and breathing. If genes can be active up to 48 hours

Watch Out For Burn Out!

Constant calls, 14 hour days, funeral arrangements, comforting grieving families, graveside services—the list goes on. As a funeral director, your week is busy and unpredictable. And nowadays it has become vital that you manage your online presence, too.

The role of a funeral director isn’t an easy one. When most of your job revolves around helping others, it can be easy to forget to help yourself. Don’t let the stress of the job burn you out.

Forbes recently listed event coordinator as the 5th most stressful job in 2016. Funeral directors often draw comparisons to event coordinators. Funeral directors essentially are event coordinators—with a handful of other tasks and half the time to plan. On top of everything else, a funeral director is a pillar of support to grieving families. To say the job is stressful would be an understatement.

Stress can take a real toll over time. Not only does it affect your productivity, it will eventually cause physical ailments. Job stress can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. The American Psychological Association found that “burnout—defined as persistent emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue and cognitive weariness—may negatively affect workers’ physical health more than previously believed.”

Let’s look at some tips you can use to counter the stress.

Physical health

This is probably the first area to shows signs of stress. The good news: it’s also the easiest to remedy.

Questions to ask yourself: How are you sleeping at night? Are you always feeling sluggish or tired? Do you have any tension in your body? Do you feel achy?

Make sure to devote time to physical activities whenever possible. A little physical activity can boost your mood. Try to make it a daily routine.

Some tips:

  • Join a gym
    • Sign up for a fitness class, or find a partner to exercise with
  • Go for a run or walk each day
  • Take the stairs if possible
  • Get a massage
  • Maintain a healthy diet / Eat home-cooked meals
  • Start a personal garden, or join a community garden

Try to get a daily routine going. Anything that gets you up and moving for 30 minutes a day can help reduce the effects of stress on your body. Incorporate new activities into your life.

Mental Health

It’s a little easier to focus on physical health. Keeping an eye on your own mental well-being is trickier, but just as important. Job stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and poor decision making.

Questions to ask yourself: Are you constantly forgetting things? Do you feel like your thoughts aren’t clear? How are your relationships with your friends/family? How do you process and deal with your emotions? How often are you taking time off? How many hours do you work a week?

Try keeping a journal of your thoughts. Studies have shown that writing will improve your emotional health. It can help you identify and express your emotions better.

Some Tips:

  • Take a “me” day to reset yourself
  • Get outside and into the sun
  • Get a pet, or a plant
  • Force yourself to have leisure time
  • Set time aside to meet with friends and family
  • Volunteer
  • Write a weekly list of what you are thankful for
  • Try learning a new activity

At the end of the day, you’re the one that knows you best. Make sure to stop and treat yourself.

eMalahleni Crematorium Opens its doors

eMalahleni Crematorium will be opening its doors for business within the next week and filling a huge gap in this sensitive area to the citizens of eMalahleni and Mpumalanga.

The requirement for a local crematorium was identified more than 2 years ago and since then the dream became a reality for Leon Smit, the owner/operator.

Many people still wonder whether it is ethical to be cremated.   Irrespective of race, religion, cultural background this is becoming the norm.   Just as the body decomposes when it is buried, during a cremation the body decomposes, at a much higher rate only.   In case of a burial, precious and scarce land is taken up and a tombstone is erected, all at a high cost.   With a cremation, the remains (ashes) are provided to the family that can do whatever they want to do with that.   You no longer need to maintain a grave in an overcrowded and unmaintained graveyard where robberies and hi-jacking are fast becoming the norm.   You can actually put that person to rest where they want to be – under an evergreen tree, at the top of a mountain, in the garden where the person enjoyed life.   The choice remains yours!

The state of the art facility is situated in the old Pretoria Road Cemetery next to the N4. Close family members are able to view the preparation and cremation from a private viewing room.   Interested parties are more than welcome to get more information on the process and the facility from Leon at the crematorium.

The facility will strive to offer a same day service to ensure that the process is not unnecessarily extended and will try to adhere to all requests.   The management and staff promises to offer you a service with Compassion, dignity and respect.

EMALAHLENI CREMATORIUM

Cremation with

Compassion – Dignity – Respect

Being cremated has become more acceptable for all cultural groups because:

  • It is cheaper than traditional burials.
  • Cremation costs are covered by funeral policies.
  • Family can attend the cremation service / Family viewing room available.
  • It offers a personalised and dignified option in terms of the memorial service and can accommodate any religious ceremony.
  • Cemeteries are full and not maintained.
  • Tombstones are stolen or damaged.

As an associated member of the National Funeral Directors Association the privately owned Emalahleni Crematorium offers:

  • Same day cremations.
  • Collection of remains from undertakers if required.
  • Guaranteed Individual cremations.
  • Remains handled with dignity and respect.
  • Ashes packed and ready for collection within 24 hours.
  • A variety of free caskets for ashes are available.

E-mail: leon@witbankcrematorium.co.zaTel:076 1977 460

Member Matters

  1. By the end of May 2016, 23 more embalmers will have been trained by the NFDA. Remember, if you snooze, you loose.
  1. All members should please take note that the following procedure will be followed if a member has not paid membership fees by the end of May:
  • The member will receive a letter indicating that there is 6 months grace for payment before they will be suspended.
  • At the end of the 6 months the member will be phoned to be informed that they are suspended.
  • A letter of termination of membership will be sent if there is no response or payment within the 6 months.
  • A list of non-payments will then be distributed to the regions.
  • As final step a list of suspended members will be published in the newsletter and members should be advised to check the date and colour on member cards when removing bodies from other parlours.
  1. If a member resigns from the NFDA, Home Affairs will be notified that the member is no longer part of an association. For members to be in good standing they need to pay membership fees on time and attend at least one NFDA meeting per year.
  1. When the Department of Health issues a new CoC for your premises, please submit this to the office.
  1. Please alert the office when you open a new office of purchase a new hearse so that such news can be included in the magazine.