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13/08/2015: City’s social burial policy comes under review
13 August 2015
The City of Johannesburg is in the process of reviewing its social burial policy in a bid to lessen the pain of impoverished residents who have lost their loved ones.

In a new move, it has been proposed that the Member of Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development donate up to R10 000 in cases where a member or members of a disadvantaged family die under tragic circumstances. The proposal was put forward during a Health and Social Development stakeholder meeting at the Protea Glen Multipurpose Centre in Soweto on Wednesday August 12.

If carried forward, the proposal will become a new addition to the current social burial policy, which came into effect 10 years ago.

The incident in $which five children – aged between four and 17 – were burnt to death in Ematsheni in Orange Farm when their shack caught fire at the weekend was cited as an example of tragic circumstances under which such a contribution could be made.

Wednesday’s meeting – chaired by Clr Gabriel Matlou, the Chairperson of the Section 79 Committee on Health and Social Development – was attended by more than 50 people representing various stakeholders. The participants included councillors, undertakers, coffin manufacturers, top officials from the Department of Health and Social Development and other interested parties.

Alleta Mzimela – of the department’s Social Benefits Unit, which is driving the process – said the review was necessary to accommodate inflation and a growing demand from poor families.

The last review was conducted in 2010 when maximum contributions under the policy were set at R2 500.

Up to 250 poor and vulnerable families benefit from the scheme every year from a budget of just over R2.3-million.

“One of the proposals is to request the MMC for Health and Social Development to donate up to R10 000 to the affected families in tragic cases. This would be facilitated through a non-governmental organisation registered on the City’s database,” Mzimela said.

Another proposal made at the meeting was that the amount paid to an indigent family in the event of a death be increased from R2 500 to a maximum of R3 848.20 for adults.

It was also proposed that amounts for stillbirths be increased from R1 640.34 to R1 742.20, for children under the age of five from R1 832.33 to R2 028.03 and for those aged between five and 12 from R2 219.29 to R2 442.10.

Other proposed changes include:
• Where the deceased has no South African ID, two people – a relative, neighbour or friend produce theirs; and
• An affidavit be issued to enable the undertaker to apply for a death certificate on behalf of the family.

The City’s social burial policy was first launched as a conditional grant in 2005 to help address the scourge of HIV-Aids. The grant was provided to poor and vulnerable households struggling to raise money to bury their loved ones.
More than 90 families have been assisted so far this financial year.

The current social burial package covers the cost of registering the death, storage of the body, coffin, grave and transport. Social workers assess the needs of the family, which includes proof that the applicant earns less than R4 873 a month.

Clr Matlou proposed that more such meetings be held in all regions over the next few weeks. Some of those who attended welcomed the proposed changes but said they would have to attend more meetings to gain a better understanding.


Issued by the City of Johannesburg

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Last Updated on 13 August 2015