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Concern as some EC families exhume bodies of loved ones who died from COVID-19

There has been concern from society following revelations that some community members in the Eastern Cape have resorted to digging up the graves of their family members who succumbed to the coronavirus.

© dolgachov/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Eastern Cape Health Department said it was working on finding a common ground between ensuring citizens fulfilled their spiritual and religious rites while adhering to the law.

Acting Head of Department Sibongile Zungu was answering questions from Members of Parliament on what they planned to do about the practice where families exhumed the remains of their loved ones who died from COVID-19 to among others, unwrap, the protective materials used to cover bodies.

The department was briefing Parliament’s Health Portfolio Committee on its strategies employed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

There has been concern from society following revelations that some community members in the Eastern Cape have resorted to digging up the graves of their family members who succumbed to the coronavirus as they were not afforded an opportunity to carry out cultural and spiritual practices at the time of their burial.

Members of the Health Committee were also worried about this as it was not only illegal, but may also put the health of the living at risk.

Zungu said they were seized with the matter.

“If they need to perform those rituals for their own needs and fulfilment as a people, then we have to look at it within the legal framework and consider all the needs.”

Nine thousand and thirty-six people have died from COVID-19 in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.
Currently, 1,705 people are hospitalised.

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