FIRA (Funeral Industry Reformed Association)
The establishment of FIRA has been rearing its head since 2005 towards the establishment of a single independent professional Funeral Association with no vested interests, to confront the gaps and challenges experienced by the funeral and related services industries, industry employers and employees, public and government, over many years. The funeral industry, Government and the public is being influenced by the non existence of an all inclusive regulatory authority, funeral ombudsman, and bargaining council, inadequate laws and the lack of implementation of laws and by-laws not being guided by a single law.
The South African Constitution clearly state that COGTA have the legislative power to set the appropriate the laws, by laws and standards, this is however non existing. Province don’t have appropriate laws and municipalities aren’t guided by COGTA whom allows itself to be guided by the Health Act (61 of 2003 amended 22 May 2013 with R363 ), others laws overseeing the funeral industry aren’t included within any municipal by laws and standards. FIRA questions the accreditation standards of municipalities and their issuing of certificates of compliance(COC) to funeral industry without the inclusion of all relevant laws incorporated into a single law, currently non existent. FIRA questions the amendments of a variety of laws without the funeral industry being consulted, hampering development, transformation and job creation being affected.
The developments of government’s to regulate the funeral services sector and establishment of an ombudsman has failed, thus highlighting the need for the establishment of FIRA as an independent, self regulatory and voluntary Funeral Association, encompassing service offerings to consumers, public and the private sector, lacking in some of the spheres of our government. FIRA has resulted in the change of focus, amongst others, encouraging government and industry in setting the same standards towards the establishment of a non-racial, non-sexist and all-embracing Funeral Association of all who trade in the funeral and related services, including public participation.
FIRA, therefor, represents the product of a refocused strategic direction and dynamic activism that seek to benefit the funeral service providers and the public alike, and help redress the imbalances of the past through training and development programmes. FIRA further realises and support the need to assist Government in its objectives to promote small and medium business, also providing guidance to well established business sectors.
To be a Funeral Association that is recognised as the catalyser of change, setting appropriate standards, leading development and transformation, towards the protection of funeral and related services, industry employers, employees and is championing efficient and cost-effective funeral consumer service in South Africa.
FIRA stands for the development and empowerment of funeral and related services providers and their employees, and delivery of services that respect the principle of non-racism and values of the South African communities, and put the consumers of funeral and associated services at the heart of these services.
FIRA espouses the following values:
- Respect (for human dignity);
The following principals underpin FIRA’s strategies and operations:
- Member and Consumer focus;
- Cost-efficiency and effectiveness;
- Corporate Governance.
- To recruit and unite the South African funeral and related services industries whom renders services and/or goods to the general public, into one single association in order to share their economic and social welfare;
- To recruit and unite the South African public, consumers, faith based groups, financial services, industry associations, labour organisations, NGO’s, key decision makers, traditional leadership and business operating within the value chain for the sole benefit of members of the association and the funeral and financial services industry in general; whom renders services and/or goods to the general public into one single association in order to share their economic and social welfare;
- to strive to realise consumer has got the right to be protected against gross exploitation by illegal and unlicensed service providers;
- to realise the understanding amongst the public and faith based groups, that there is a desperate need for affordable and quality funeral services;
- to advance the need of rendering appropriate funeral services for all South African citizens and creating the awareness of Government and other authorities to urgently attend to funeral industry discrepancies without encouraging or allowing any exploitation;
- to advise Government and any authority of any transgression related to our environment, health, home affairs, labour and treasury of any potential risks and threats that occur;
- to investigate complaints and report irregularities to the necessary authorities;
- To promote independence of funeral and related trade associations, who can network with government structures on the industry regulation, giving the providers opportunity of focusing on their individual strategic initiatives, thereby protecting the industry role-players and consumers;
- To create and enhance greater awareness and involvement of members in the provision of efficient, non-racist, and transformed funeral and associated services;
- To assume the role of an effective voice for the needs, aspirations and views of members;
- To promote and maintain working relationships with the organisations and working groups that pursue objectives that are similar to those of FIRA;
- To identify and influence organisations that pursue objectives that are dissimilar to those of FIRA;
- To uphold and enhance the highest professional-cum-ethical standards and principals in the funeral and related services industry sector;
- To be an effective vehicle for the exchange of information, views and experiences on funeral and related services practices;
- To develop and implement programmes for monitoring organisation performance in order to ensure the advancement of the members of FIRA;
- To build an efficient, effective and adequately resourced organization;
- To strive towards an environment where FIRA has its own intellectual property in a form of products and services with clear offering in terms of customer value proposition;
Strive to set flat service rates among all funeral associations and by doing that ensuring that the public is being protected.