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Various factors behind Eastern Cape coffin shortage, but it can be fixed - Fira

5 January 2021 11:00 AM
Tags:
Eastern Cape
Funeral industry
Covid-19 deaths
funeral sector
coffin shortage
coffin supply

The Funeral Industry Reformed Association (Fira) says the challenges facing small funeral parlours in the Eastern Cape have highlighted the need for government intervention.

Some independent funeral homes in the Eastern Cape are experiencing a shortage of coffins and battling to keep up with demand due to the rise in Covid-19 deaths.

Fira chairperson Johan Rossouw says many coffin manufacturing factories closed their plants over the festive season, contributing to the shortage of caskets.

He explains that most small funerals parlours do not carry bulk stock of coffins and therefore many of them struggled over the December period.

Because of financial limitations, some parlours only order coffins as each claim arises.

In addition, Rossouw claims that coffin-makers have also experienced some challenges with wood suppliers.

However, with the return of suppliers in the new year, the situation is expected to improve.

According to Rossouw, the sector has also been in consultation with Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane to raise their grievances.

He says small and emerging funeral undertakers need support from the government to better serve the public during the pandemic and beyond.

The association which he chairs represents 30,000 small funeral homes and 80,000 staffers.

The funeral industry has been calling for regulation for several years and undertakers nationwide embarked on a strike in September 2020.

The tendency within the funeral industry is that, if someone passes away, they order it [coffins] as per death. These people don't have the capital to keep 100 coffins at stock.

Johan Rossouw, Chairperson - Funeral Industry Reformed Association

I think that the value chain, in particular the manufacturing sector, is also challenged with the supply of wood.

Johan Rossouw, Chairperson - Funeral Industry Reformed Association

Yes, there are challenges, in terms of the provision of coffins, but I think we need to be very careful not to go into a media frenzy about this.

Johan Rossouw, Chairperson - Funeral Industry Reformed Association

The problem that we foresee in terms of the shortage of coffins is the time of the year... The factories closed more or less in the middle of December and your smaller emerging funeral parlours is not in a privileged position... There is no subsidy or support for the funeral industry.

Johan Rossouw, Chairperson - Funeral Industry Reformed Association

Listen to the discussion on Early Breakfast:




5 January 2021 11:00 AM
Tags:
Eastern Cape
Funeral industry
Covid-19 deaths
funeral sector
coffin shortage
coffin supply

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