The level of ambiguity in the ANC leadership is beyond illogical; a joke to be precise. As government, they need to practise what they preach.
With the exponential growth rate of Covid-19 infections in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a whole, we have witnessed a number of deaths across our communities. Subsequent to the high infection rate, COGTA gazetted new regulations to be followed when burying our loved ones.
According to these regulations, Covid-19 deaths are treated differently. Guidelines from the Department of Health state, “Only close family members should attend funeral services of persons that died of Covid-19”. “Burial services should not exceed two hours to minimise exposure…” and “Attendance at a funeral is limited to 50 persons”. Applicable to all funerals, “…all health protocols and social distancing measures must be adhered to, in order to limit exposure of persons at the funeral to Covid-19.”
Contrary to these regulations, we have seen the emergence of “aristocratic” funerals, where ANC leaders and some celebrities are given preferential treatment. We have witnessed certain individuals receiving proper burials – holding funeral services, sometimes with more than 50 people attending the service – while ordinary citizens are receiving pauper-like burials, where they are buried with coffins wrapped in plastic, with relatives prohibited from being in proximity of the graveyard.
We have seen a select few families paying a befitting tribute, and offering closure to their loved ones, while it is the opposite for ordinary citizens. At these “aristocratic” funerals, coffins are laced with orchids and lilies, with top-of-the range decorations. Their family members do not undergo quarantine, but attend the funeral service. This is not only a health hazard, but also a safety concern for the citizens of the country.
We have seen pictures of ANC top leaders taking photographs without adhering to social distancing. All this is splashed across the media and social networks. What message are we sending to our communities?
Some undertakers are allowed to break the regulations, while others are told to stick to the law. They are deprived of the opportunity to “shine”, while the connected undertakers are allowed to flaunt their work.
This behaviour exposes the ANC as a party with delusions of grandeur and a complete lack of ubuntu-botho in the highest order. Their lack of opacity and uniformity in matters relating to all citizens is beyond comprehension, even in matters of death.
The ANC should be ashamed of itself for this divisive trend when it comes to funerals in different communities. People are not fools. Laws should apply to and be respected by everyone – and these regulations were created to ensure the safety of our mourners.
We call upon the ANC government to practise introspection, and to realise the need to act responsibly and lead by example.
Mr Blessed Gwala
IFP Spokesperson for Community Safety and Liaison
Contact number: 078 290 5842