Undertakers protest

Image via: National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa – Nafupa SA / Facebook

Undertakers protest latest: Home Affairs secures court interdict against UTT

Home Affairs has secured a court interdict prohibiting the UTT from intimidating staff but the group says the undertakers protest will continue.

Undertakers protest

Image via: National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa – Nafupa SA / Facebook

The Department of Home Affairs has obtained a court interdict preventing the Unification Task Team (UTT) – who represent undertakers – from intimidating staff and those visiting the offices in Pretoria. This follows an undertakers protest which was held on Tuesday 11 May whereby representatives clashed with police.

While police fired stun grenades on the scene and at least one person was arrested, the UTT have vowed to continue their demonstrations until the grievances are addressed. In fact, UTT spokesperson told The South African that “heads will roll” come Thursday 13 May. 


The department released a statement on Wednesday – just one day after the undertakers protest – saying that its newly obtained interdict will not only prohibit the UTT from intimidating staff and people visiting Home Affairs offices but it will also prohibit the group from damaging any property.

Some of the demands at the undertakers’ protest, according to The Citizen, includes speeding up the issuing of death certificates and to allow recognised funeral associations to register certificates, and to be granted Certificates of Competency (CoC).

Their grievance is that without a CoC issued by the Department of Health to undertakers with cold storage facilities, small undertakers were unable to register any death at Home Affairs, book burial sites or cremate remains.

According to Home Affairs, engagements with the UTT brought about an agreement to grant provisional designation for funeral parlours or undertakers to temporarily conduct business relating to Home Affairs registration of deaths.

As part of this agreement, applications to be designated funeral undertakers are required to comply with the following;

  • Proof of storage lease agreement as certification of the business relationship for processing or keeping and cold storage of the deceased with a facility issued with the Certificate of Competence
  • A Certificate of Competence of the person (lessor) leasing the premises or part thereof, taking into account that the lessor may only lease premises or part of the premises with a valid Certificate of Competence.

“The second decision was to grant this permission to those not yet designated to apply and register deaths for a period of 12 months while the three State entities find a lasting solution to the issues raised by the UTT, especially those relating to regulations,” the department said. 


Speaking to UTT spokesperson Muzi Hlengwa on Wednesday, it became clear that the body, representing funeral parlour owners and workers, would not back down regarding the undertakers protest. 

“The court order will not stop us. We knew what we were going to do, should we fight. When there are challenges, you don’t back down, you regroup and you intensify. The problem is that Home Affairs think the court order will just silence us. Tomorrow, they must wait for a bigger show than what they saw today,” he said.  

“We are all still travelling back home from Pretoria. After what happened yesterday, we have spent time at the police stations and at the courts. The leadership in Gauteng will now visit those who got injured yesterday just to try and assess the state of the injuries. I promise you, tomorrow, heads will roll,” he added.