Undertakers oppose regulation proposals

Undertakers are dead set against controversial proposals aimed at regulating the industry. Among the proposals is that an ombudsman be appointed to regulate the funerals industry and that undertakers be prohibited from paying commissions to hospitals, hospices and the clergy to secure bodies The proposed code of conduct is currently being considered by the National Consumer Commission. But the Funeral Federation of South Africa and its 3 000 member businesses are drafting their own code of conduct to submit to the commission.

During a meeting with the commission last month, the federation declared its support for statutory governance but expressed concerns that the industry was not consulted on the proposed regulations and code of conduct before they were published in the Government Gazette. “All objections and concerns were duly noted by the consumer commission,” the federation’s vice-chairman, Dr Lawrence Konyana, said. Funeral Industry Regulatory Authority (Fira), a non-profit organisation, is lobbying to act as ombudsman of an industry that turns over at least R4.5-billion a year. But the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) believes that Fira is not the appropriate organisation to act as the ombudsman and that the proposed funding model is flawed.