Mbabane: The Eswatini Competition Commission (ECC) is probing the exorbitant E3 000 COVID-19 Fee that was induced by Dups Funeral home and Crematorium (Pty) Ltd (DUPS) in February 2021.
In a statement issued by the commission on April 2021, it was stated that its attention was drawn by an advertisement issued by DUPS by which was announcing that an administrative fee of E500 and a COVID-19 fee of E2 500 would be charged for burial and services for all COVID-19 related deaths to cater for additional safety measures.
According to the commission, such conduct appeared to be an unfair trading and if proved true, it will be in contravention of Regulation 10 (1) read with Regulation 10 (2) of the Disaster Management (CORONAVIRUS- COVID-19) Regulations, 2020 (‘the COVID Regulations’) and Section 33(1) (i) of the Act, alternatively Section 33(2) read together with Section 4 of the Fair Trading Act, 2001 (‘the FTA’).
Given that background, the commission request the public and stakeholders in the burial services industry who may have be in possession of information that may be of assistance in this investigation to come forward and furnish such information.
The said commission this information may include, but not limited to; any transactional documents wherein DUPS charged or imposed the COVID-19 Fee; proof of payment issued by DUPS in respect of such fee; documents indicating the services provided by DUPS in the process of providing burial and funeral services (including cremation) and any documents wherein a contractual relationship between DUPS and the person providing the information creates rights and obligations between the parties, such as funeral policy document.
On or around February 3, 2021 DUPS Funeral Home General Manager Kyle De Sousa told Eswatini Observer that all COVID-19 deaths attracted an additional fee of E3 000.
He said this was broken down into E500 for administrative fees, including funeral registration, tagging, a sheet, a pack of sanitisers, five pairs of gloves and masks. He said the rest of the money was for the body bag, PPE, fumigation of facility and cars, bleach cleaning of mortuary and sanitising customers.
He said it also covered sanitising the coffin at the site and the vehicle after the funeral.