Funeral authority to challenge rejected proposal for industry watchdog

Mourning families are forced to continue fending for themselves in the face of exploitation by dodgy funeral parlours, says the Funeral Industry Reformed Association (Fira).

This comes after the National Consumer Commission (NCC) rejected an application for a funeral ombudsman to oversee the industry.

Last year, Fira proposed that a code of conduct and funeral ombudsman be adopted to regulate unscrupulous practices, such as undertakers paying “commissions” to hospitals, hospices and the clergy to secure bodies.

Read: Ombudsman would stamp out dodgy funeral parlours

The industry, which is worth at least R4.5 billion, has no accredited standards in place and operates with untrained industry operators.

Fira chair Johan Rousseau says the NCC did not provide sufficient reasons for rejecting their proposal.

Rousseau says Fira questions the integrity of the NCC's process and will challenge the decision.

It's an uphill battle.

Johan Rousseau, Chairman of the Funeral Industry Reformed Association 

The general public is left totally exposed because they are not protected by any organisation, including the National Consumer Commission (NCC).

Johan Rousseau, Chairman of the Funeral Industry Reformed Association 

We have to take the gloves off from today, because the NCC has declined our proposal.

Johan Rousseau, Chairman of the Funeral Industry Reformed Association

Our legal team will definitely take the matter up with NCC and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Johan Rousseau, Chairman of the Funeral Industry Reformed Association

Rousseau adds that the decision to deny the application for a watchdog authority leaves the funeral industry underdeveloped.

He shared some of the horror stories reported to the association.

Some corpses have been held for ransom, rats have been found in mortuaries, and funeral prices have been escalated, to name but a few atrocities.

Take a listen:

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