The point is that the system collapse is yet another indication that the government failed to make use of the lockdown period.
It is now becoming grimly apparent with each passing day that the harsh lockdowns South Africa has been subjected to since the end of March have done little to stem the deadly march of the coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19.
South Africa is now the country with the 5th highest number of coronavirus infections in the world and, as we report today, the reality of the situation is starting to hit home as the bodies pile up. Who should see that more clearly than undertakers? So, it is disturbing that the South African Funeral Practitioners Association says, based on what its members are reporting, Covid-19 deaths could be up to three times higher than reflected in government.
Many funeral parlours have been overwhelmed this winter – and there is no sign of deaths abating. While the funeral parlour operators are the ones closest to the reality of Covid-19 deaths – and the bodies are certainly piling up – it’s hard to believe the government’s official death toll is so far out.
However, what is true is that many bodies are piling up because the bureaucracy is also becoming overwhelmed. The department of home affairs, in particular, cannot cope with the flood of requests for death certificates. Because formal procedures cannot happen without that document, many bodies have been sitting in cold storage facilities at mortuaries around the country.
This has, undoubtedly, added to the trauma and sorrow being experienced by thousands of families who have lost loved ones to the disease. Whether the funeral operators are correct or not about the numbers of deaths is not the point.
The point is that the system collapse is yet another indication that the government failed to make use of the lockdown period – which devastated millions of lives and the economy – to get ready.
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