A critical analysis of public policies guiding legal determents and business operations of formal and informal private funeral parlours: the case study of Umbilo funeral parlours.
The funeral parlour industry in Durban came under the media spotlight in 2017 and 2018 due to a demarcation war that emerged among Black, White and Indian funeral parlour owners within the eThekwini metropolitan area. This rift exposed policy cracks within the industry as it emerged that there were a number of funeral parlour regulations and policies that were not being adhered to. This inspired the researcher to probe the policy implementation and policy regulation irregularities within the funeral parlour industry, as well as the operational dynamics characterising this industry. This study focuses on the implementation of policies and regulations that are stipulated by policy custodians of funeral parlours which operate within the Umbilo area. The study adopted a qualitative research approach. Data were collected using in-depth interviews with four funeral parlours characterised as ‘formal’ and ‘informal’. The study draws on the perceptions of the service users in this industry to gain an understanding of the impact of policy implementation irregularities. This empirical research was conducted to elicit factual data on the policies and regulations that govern the funeral parlour industry. The policy implementation theory was used to analyse and interpret policy factors that led to the saga in the period from 2017 to 2018. Using a qualitative research approach, this study presents data that has not been considered when scrutinising the funeral parlour industry and unpacks some of the background operations that may be noticed following the death of a person. This study contributes to the body of literature on understanding the operations of the funeral parlour industry and how it is governed, particularly within the context of eThekwini Municipality. It also contributes essential information on how the public is affected by the policy structures and policy implementation irregularities within this industry. The study makes recommendations that are essential to ensuring policy implementation strategies that focus on the involvement of all stakeholders responsible for the implementation of policies within the funeral parlour industry under the jurisdiction of eThekwini Municipality.