Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
25 Jul 2021
3:05 pm

Undertakers prepare for protest-fuelled Covid death spike, as Jhb cemeteries burst

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Funeral undertakers say they're gearing up for thousands of Covid funerals after recent protests, while already battling with hundreds daily.

Undertaker Lawrence Selaelo attends to a body, 6 July 2021, at Collinge and Co Funeral Directors in Fourways. The funeral industry is overwhelmed with the number of deaths in Gauteng due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Michel Bega

Overcrowding and hundreds of weekly burials has turned Johannesburg's cemeteries into potential super-spreader locations for Covid-19, while undertakers struggle to keep up with the demand for burials. Though numbers appear to be stabilising, compared to June, according to the South African Funeral Practitioners Association (SAFPA), last week’s civil unrest has prompted undertakers to brace for another surge in funerals in the coming weeks. According to Johannesburg City Parks spokesperson Reggie Moloi, there are only four of its 37 cemeteries in Johannesburg open for new grave sites, while the rest are only used for reopenings in which graves are opened on...