Funeral Parlour Legislation in South Africa

This article is about Funeral Parlour Legislation in South Africa by the FPSA

You’ve seen funeral parlours on TV shows like Six Feet Under, In Loving Memory and Teen Undertaker, but have you ever stopped to think about what regulates this particular industry? Funeral parlour legislation is of great importance in South Africa.

Why Funeral Parlour Legislation?

Because the handling of human remains is such a delicate and possibly even dangerous undertaking, specific funeral parlour legislation exists governing the structure, fittings and hygiene of all funeral parlours in South Africa.

funeral parlour legislation







According to Government Notice No. 237 of 8 February 1985, all funeral parlours must adhere to the following requirements:

  • A Certificate of Competence. This is issued by the relevant local authority to authorise the funeral parlour. A Certificate of Competence applies to the funeral parlour itself, not to the person or people undertaking the work. Andthe certificate will only be issued if the premises complies with the rest of the requirements listed below. Thus, the government can revoke the certificate under certain conditions.
  • A Preparation Room. This is the room where the corpses are prepared for burial. The preparation room must be constructed in accordance with specific regulations regarding size, construction (including colour and surface finish), fittings (tables, taps and basins) and drainage system. Furthermore, the preparation room may not be visible from any salesroom or office and must be adequately lit and ventilated.
  • Change-rooms. Also, according to the law, separate change-rooms must be provided for the different sexes. This part of the legislation also stipulates the required ratio of basins and toilets to employees, as well as the necessary cleansing materials (soap, disposable towels, disinfectant and nail brushes) that must be provided by the funeral parlour.

More requirements:

  • Refrigeration Facilities. These are for storing the bodies. The law also governs the construction and refrigeration capability of the facilities.
  • Facilities for Cleaning Equipment. Also, there must be a specific area for cleaning the equipment and utensils used in the preparation of bodies.
  • Facilities for Cleaning Vehicles. Must provide any vehicles used to transport bodies with a dedicated, paved cleaning area hidden from the view of the public. Also, this area must have an approved drainage system.
  • Facilities for Loading and Unloading Corpses. An area must be designated for the loading and unloading of corpses from vehicles. The same regulations apply to this area as for the vehicle cleaning area.
  • The Premises Must be Rodent-Proof. For obvious reasons, the funeral parlour must conform to government regulations as to what comprises adequate protection from rodents.
  • Provision of Protective Clothing.The funeral parlour is responsible for providing protective clothing to its employees. That includes linen overcoats, surgical gloves, plastic aprons, face masks and gumboots. The law requires that workers wear protective clothing when they work on bodies. Workers must wash and disinfect the clothing every day.
  • Various other provisions. These are concerned with hygiene and include the safe disposal of solid waste, the exclusion of insects, and the cleaning of equipment and surfaces used for the preparation of bodies for funerals.

In conclusion, note that the above regulations only apply to authorised funeral parlours.So these regulations do not apply to mortuaries and hospitals under state or provincial administration.

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All info was correct at time of publishing