Funeral Parlours Facing Coffin Shortage


Covid-19 deaths have been increasing at a high rate, causing problems for the funeral industry. Funeral parlours are struggling to cope and some workers fear contracting Covid-19.

The National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (NFPASA) said despite what some people might think, the funeral parlour business is not booming in a good way. 

Muzi Hlengwa of the NFPASA said this is something that the industry has never seen before. 

"We have run out of coffins, we have run out of space at the mortuaries, we are even requesting those who can afford and those who are able to, to try and get extra mortuary facilities. Even temporary containers whereby we can have additional space.

"We have run out of space, some funerals had to be postponed because there's no burial space. Crematoriums are working extra hours. We normally have cremations during the day, but now we even have cremations at night. 

Some funeral parlour employees have already lost their lives to Covid-19, leaving others afraid of losing their lives.

Hlengwa said most mortuaries no longer fetch bodies from hospitals as there is no space for the bodies to be stored. 

Funeral parlours have had to directly step in to fetch corpses from the hospital and straight to burial sights. 

The industry has been struggling since the first wave and things took a turn for the worst in the second wave. 

"The industry is being strained because we're losing a lot of our current business, because the industry has changed these days... It's normally schemes or burial societies that come in on a monthly basis. If we are receiving a lot of claims, it means we are losing a lot of money"

Along with these challenges, some funeral parlours struggle with families that refuse to follow Covid-19 funeral guidelines.

Hlengwa has asked families of the deceased to prioritise safety and health over rituals and religious practices that encourage making physical contact with the deceased.

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