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As the number of covid-19 related death sky-rockets in Soweto, morgues, cemeteries and funeral parlours are overwhelmed by bodies. Funeral parlours around Soweto said they are on the brink of running out of options, with high demand for coffins and increasing numbers of burial services.
Thabo Sauhatse, Marketing and Sales manager of Unique funeral services in Zola 1,said they are battling to cope with demand as covid-19 deaths increase rapidly. “Until few months ago, we are struggling. People are dying in large numbers, we’re also receiving more bodies from disadvantaged families so we can’t reject them”.
He further said they are close to running out of body bags and other personal protective equipment(PPE) needed to handle covid-19 corpses as they grapple with soaring demand for burials. “Despite the health risk, our funeral service is facing an uphill battle when it comes to protecting employees, so we call on the government to intervene”.
Another major challenge for funeral parlours at the moment is the massive backlog when it comes to issuing of death certificates at home affairs. In the near future most families might opt for cremation, which is less expensive than burial.
With funeral parlours struggling to cope and hospitals overwhelmed, thousands of Sowetans have reacted furiously to the news, some calling on the government to assist private entities such as, morgues and funeral services. “The most feared storm has finally arrived, and we have to support these funerals parlours, it’s a daunting task for them at the moment”. One resident commented. Another stated: “The numbers are going so high and soon everyone will be overwhelmed with trauma”.
Thapelo Magola Soweto Sunrise News