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City concerned about apparent exhumation scam<p>​The City of Cape Town’s Environmental Health Department was recently approached by a family who indicated that a funeral undertaker had charged them for an exhumation, but also requested an additional R3 000 – indicating that this fee was to secure the attendance of an environmental health practitioner during the exhumation. The City Parks Department has had at least three similar cases reported to its offices.</p><div>While regulations require that the City’s Environmental Health Department oversee exhumations, the City provides this service free of charge. The only cost imposed by the City is a R540 administration fee charged by City Parks. If there is need to rebury in another City-owned cemetery, the applicable tariff is charged for the new grave.  </div><div><br></div><div>‘I’m very concerned by these allegations as this not only affects the reputation of City Health, but is also exploiting vulnerable residents. Burials are costly as it is, and many families sacrifice to give their loved ones a dignified send-off. It is disturbing to think that there are unscrupulous people out there who are cashing in on their grief. I would encourage members of the public who’ve experienced this to lay charges with the police, because ultimately this is fraud,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Health, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.</div><div><br></div><div>Exhumations typically happen under the following circumstances:</div><div><ul><li>To facilitate the reburial of a loved one in another graveyard to be closer to other family members<br></li><li>To re-dress a loved one and rebury them in the same grave for cultural/ritual purposes<br></li><li>Where a body has been buried in the wrong grave<br></li><li>To recover the body of a loved one who was buried as a pauper (unclaimed bodies from the morgue that are buried by the State)<br></li></ul></div><div>Environmental health practitioners are required to ensure the safe handling or interment of human remains and ensure that no health risks emanate from the process. They have an active presence on the day of the exhumation to oversee operations conducted by the undertaker, which are done in terms of the guidelines of infection control. They also have a checklist to ensure that the undertaker is complying with regulations and they sign off on the exhumation/reburial process.</div><div><br></div><div>Requests for exhumations are submitted to the Western Cape Department of Health and, once approved, City Parks and City Health are informed. City Parks then notifies the applicant, having received a proposed date from the environmental health officer. Thereafter, the onus is on the applicant to contact their undertaker to confirm their availability. </div><div><br></div><div>‘We encourage members of the public to familiarise themselves with the costs and processes around exhumation to prevent falling victim to unscrupulous businesses or individuals. All of the information is readily available from City Parks or on the City’s website. City Parks is committed to ensuring dignity for the departed, but also for their families, and our staff are on hand to help if need be,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Anda Ntsodo.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>End</strong></div><div><br></div>2016-11-25T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#91e2ad52-f623-42a1-9f0f-bd0f6249cf40;L0|#091e2ad52-f623-42a1-9f0f-bd0f6249cf40|exhumation;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#6a43f041-ad9c-49ff-a95c-f4cef6830167;L0|#06a43f041-ad9c-49ff-a95c-f4cef6830167|City Parks Department;GP0|#6199a1b2-2e64-4bd0-abba-c06ea746ee8b;L0|#06199a1b2-2e64-4bd0-abba-c06ea746ee8b|cemetaries1

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