DA INTERVENTION BRINGS AN END TO ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR CREMATION

MAKHOSAZANA MDLALOSE MPP

DA KZN SPOKESPERSON ON HEALTH

THE Democratic Alliance welcomes an instruction by the KwaZulu-Natal health department, to management at the Phoenix mortuary, that they may no longer accept payments for cremation certificates supplied by a private service provider.

Last month the DA conducted a surprise visit to the mortuary and established that there was a receipt book recording payments made to a private pathologist for the issuing of after-hours cremation certificates. Evidently this was not covered by the pathologist’s contract for services to be provided at the mortuary. Since the issuing of cremation certificates was apparently an additional service, bereaved relatives have, until now, had to pay R250 to receive such a certificate – a matter of some importance to those who follow the Hindu faith and who wish their relatives to be cremated. A visit to the Gale Street mortuary on the same day revealed that no such practice exists at this facility. A large sign in the public waiting room stated that no payments were required for a range of services including the issuing of cremation forms, an after-hours service and post-mortem reports to families of the deceased. Clearly, two different policies were being applied, prompting the DA to ask KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to clarify exactly what was covered by service provider contracts and why one community was paying a different rate to everyone else. The DA also asked the MEC to investigate how these payments were being accounted for and audited in departmental records.

The outcome of these enquiries is the termination of additional fees being paid by the Phoenix community. The DA welcomes the department’s efforts to correct this discrepancy and that fact that officials have reacted positively to our concerns by enforcing the same policy for no charge for cremation certificates, as applied at all other mortuaries.

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