Community members are worried that at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is surging, many more people and families are being exposed to the coronavirus at funeral services
A NUMBER of Kimberley residents have raised concerns about the lack of adherence to Covid-19 regulations by mourners at funeral services.
Residents pointed out that some community members were disregarding the limit of 50 mourners attending burials.
Concerned residents have also complained that law enforcement has failed to patrol cemeteries and to ensure that the regulated amount of people enter and that funeral services, at homes and at grave sites, adhere to Covid-19 protocols and restrictions.
Eyebrows have increasingly been raised over the past two weeks with an apparent increase in the number of funerals in the city. Residents are concerned that at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is surging, many more people and families are being exposed to the coronavirus at these services.
Following several recent funeral services in the city, voice-notes have been circulating on social media in which people who attended the services were urged to go for screening and testing.
Another major concern raised is the availability of water and toilets at local cemeteries.
Mourners have also pointed out that the use of online digital technology for funeral services is often frowned upon and that many people do not have access to digital platforms.
There is also a concern that for some people funerals are seen as a “family reunion”.
One city resident pointed out that the grieving family often has no control over the situation and is usually left “helpless when things get out of hand”.
“We, as a family, drew up a list of family members who were meant to attend the funeral and go to the grave site, but things did not go as planned,” the resident said.
He said they had provided as much hand sanitiser as possible and had also availed extra masks, “just in case”, but this had all proved insufficient when scores of mourners arrived at their home to pay their respects and at the funeral service.
“The deceased was a people’s person, which led to many friends, relatives and colleagues – from near and afar – coming to the house throughout the week.
“We wanted a small prayer service , but were shocked to see more people arrive … whom we could not deny,” said the resident. “It is a culture for us black people to stand together in difficult times. We could not chase people away or call the police. It would be inhuman.
“We heard there were some cautious people who remained in their cars and we appreciate their efforts,” he added.
Another mourning family member indicated that it became more and more difficult for the family to control the number of people at the cemetery and that there were no law enforcement officials in sight to assist in the matter.
“We worked with a list and requested the extra people to remain at home, but when we got to the cemetery we were surprised to see so many people there.
“Many relatives said they could not leave before accompanying the deceased to his final resting place,” said the family member.