THE Funeral Industry Reformer Association (Fira) has come out against the funeral industry strike.

The association has called on the public to help challenge the strike legally.

On Monday, the funeral sector embarked on a national shutdown, which is set to continue until today.

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The strike was organised by the Unification Task Team, a group of over 17 funeral associations and forums. They, who claimed black undertakers were being oppressed by the government.

Fira executive chairman, Johan Rousseau, said hooligans were behind the strike and were making legitimate funeral parlous and the public suffer.

The association has asked for donations to challenge the strike in court.

Rousseau said: “The health department is not in charge of the funeral sector. The co-operative governance and traditional affairs department is. We need assistance to take legal action and educate the public.”

He said Fira has received reports of funeral parlour employees being attacked for trying to execute their duties. At the time of going to print, cops had not yet confirmed whether criminal cases were opened.

Rousseau said: “The police do not have enough resources to collect dead bodies. We might see bodies decomposing and the spread of diseases.”

The SunTeam has learnt that some funeral associations under the Unification Task Team had withdrawn from the strike, but the body was not available for comment.

On Monday, the South African Funeral Practitioners Association distanced itself from the strike.

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Meanwhile in Tshwane, undertakers told hospitals to close their mortuaries and not to release bodies until the strike was over.

The owner of Simelane and Sons Funeral Undertaker said hospitals were co-operating.

Edith Simelane told Daily Sun the hospitals sympathised with them. She said they checked hospitals in the Tshwane CBD, Steve Biko Academic Hospitals and hospitals in Soshanguve to make sure they were co-operating.