As Covid-19 explodes in South Africa, coffin demand rises sharply

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The novel coronavirus South Africa is spreading at a rapid pace and amid the surge in a number of deaths, coffin demand has increased sharply in the country.

WION visited ENZO Wood, one of the country's largest coffin manufacturer in Gauteng and was told by an official that the company is under "pressure" to meet the rise in demand. 

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"Pressure has increased…It is a bit difficult now. We need to push work as much as we can to satisfy the market," said Kasie Pillay, Sales Manager, ENZO Wood. 

Pillay said that the manufactures themselves are facing challenges and therefore it is difficult to fulfil market needs. 

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"With the second wave demand has increased, but there are always challenges…price increase in raw materials, shortage of timber…sometimes it's difficult to cope…You can only make so many units per day," the sales manager said. 

WION also talked with Lawrence Konyana, Deputy President, National Funeral Directors Association, who was relieved that coffin manufacturers are back to work in full swing after the December holidays.

"Due to a rising number of deaths, in particular, in the Eastern Cape, funeral directors did indicate that they are running out of coffins. This was attributed to the fact that most of the manufacturers were still on a December break. However, most of them did come back early to start production immediately and further introduce a double shift system to make sure their depots are stocked as soon as possible. Some of the stocks were mobilized from different provinces which were less affected to the ones that were highly affected," Konyana said. 

However, Pillay said despite rising deaths, it will not ask its employees to overwork and stick to their original working hours. 

" (The) unfortunate part is we need to survive with people dying. It's not a good thing to say but it is a reality. (The) production might have spiked in the second wave but remember we can only manufacture so many boxes in a day. We work flat 7:30 am to 4 pm. We can't burn out our staff. (The) death toll will rise but we can only do so much, unfortunately," Pillay said. 
 

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