Minister tightens the screws on funerals during virus lockdown
Mourners now need a permit to attend family funerals across metros, districts and provinces
Mourners will have to get permission from a magistrate or a police station commander to attend funerals across metropolitan, district and provincial boundaries during the national lockdown, according to amended regulations gazetted on Thursday.
The 21-day lockdown has been in effect for the past week and is part of the government’s effort to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus that has killed nearly 50,000 people and infected more than 960,000 globally, with about 200,000 of those recovered. In SA, 1,380 people have been confirmed as having Covid-19, with about 50 recovered and five having died from it.
At the onset of the lockdown restrictions were placed limiting mourners to no more than 50 people a funeral and banning night vigils. While this regulation has been in place since the beginning of the lockdown, on Thursday, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted the amended regulations, which, among other things, detail the processes regarding attending funerals.
The new regulations also confirm those who can attend funerals. Only a spouse or partner, a child, a step-child, siblings, grandparents, or those closely affiliated to the deceased are allowed to attend.
Under the amended regulations, the magistrate or police station commander can delegate that responsibility to issue the permit. When requesting the permit, the bereaved has to produce a death certificate or a certified copy of the death certificate. If there is no death certificate by the time a person applies for the permit, the person will have to make a sworn affidavit.
In terms of the new regulations, the permit holder will be allowed in the metropolitan area, district or province that they have travelled to for the duration of the funeral or the cremation, but not for longer than 48 hours.
The person travelling for the funeral or cremation also cannot stay at the place of residence of a relative or friend, but may stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house for a period of 48 hours, provided that the permit is given to the owner or manager of the hotel, lodge or guest house.
Only two family members or a person with a close affiliation to the deceased may accompany the vehicle transporting the mortal remains to the metropolitan, district, or province where the burial or cremation will take place.