Lockdown: Repatriation nightmare for SA and Zimbabwe

Nkosi Nare
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South Africa based funeral parlours are engaging authorities to ensure that there is smooth process of repatriating bodies, meant for burial in Zimbawe, through Beitbridge Border Post.

Currently, the parlours are concerned with the manner in which the process is being handled with ever-changing rules and regulations on
both sides of the border. Under normal circumstances at least 60 bodies are brought into the country through Beitbridge Border Post weekly for burial.

As a result of the state of affairs, six bodies were returned to Johannesburg last Wednesday after the parlours reportedly failed to meet some regulations which are being rolled out under the lockdown guidelines in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The Herald understands that initially one relative and the hearse drivers were allowed passage into the country, but now that has been
changed. Under new changes, only the South Africa parlours’ driver is expected to leave the human remains with Zimbabweans parlours at Beitbridge Border Post for onward transportation.

However, this has been met with logistical challenges with parlours from the two countries yet to agree on sharing transportation fees.

On average it costs R15 000 to repatriate the remains of a Zimbabwean from South Africa. The chairman of the Inner-City Funeral Directors Association- South Africa (IFDA-SA), Mr Nkosi Kwanike Nare said today that the state of affairs has resulted in bodies piling up in Johannesburg mortuaries.

He said one of their members was recently fined R18 000 for overloading their morgue with three bodies