Close family may attend funeral in different town, under strict conditions

A person who has obtained permission to travel to a funeral of a close relative must stay in a hotel - not with family or friends - and be away for a maximum of two days.
A person who has obtained permission to travel to a funeral of a close relative must stay in a hotel - not with family or friends - and be away for a maximum of two days.
Image: ehrlif / 123RF Stock Photo

The government has instructed people wishing to leave town for a funeral under the lockdown to get a permit first from a magistrate or a police station.

But these permits would only be issued to people close to the deceased.

In new regulations gazetted on Thursday, local government minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has now permitted the movement “between a metropolitan or district area, or province by a person wishing to attend a funeral” during the 21-day lockdown.

As part of regulations for the lockdown, which entered day seven on Thursday, only essential workers were allowed to travel.

The relaxation, however, is limited to the deceased’s spouse or partner, child, child-in-law, parents, siblings, grandparents and other people closely affiliated with the deceased.

“Closely affiliated means: a person with parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the deceased; or a person who had developed a significant relationship based on caregiving, psychological or emotional attachment to the deceased,” the regulations read.

The new regulations come after the Mpumalanga high court last Friday rejected an application from someone who wanted to travel from one province to another for a funeral.

“The circumstances of this case are extremely upsetting. It shows in the crudest manner the crude effects of the final lockdown regulations upon a family,” the court said in its judgment.

The amended regulations state that any person wishing to leave town or cross provinces for a funeral of a close family member would have to produce a death certificate or a sworn affidavit.

They must also fill in a permit form at the nearest magistrate’s office or police station which allows the person to travel to the funeral or cremation and back home.

“Attendance at a funeral or cremation is limited to 50 people and will for purposes of these regulations not be regarded as a prohibited gathering: provided that no night vigil shall be held and that all safety hygiene measures are strictly adhered to,” the regulations stated.

Further, the regulations state that the person who is travelling to the funeral may not stay away for longer than 48 hours, cannot stay at family or friends' house and should stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house for the period of 48 hours.


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