How does a Burial Society work?

This article was posted on 24 August 2016

Posted in Funeral Cover

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Funerals and everything that goes with arranging one can be quite a costly affair and because you would want to afford yourself or your loved ones a befitting and honourable send-off I would hope that you have made arrangements for the cost that you will have to bear when arranging a funeral.

The cost of a traditional black South African funeral can range anything between R15 000 to R25 000, even more, depending on your role in the family and status in the community. Not everyone has this kind of money laying around and investing your money with a Burial Society proves to be a sound investment towards the cost of a funeral.


How does a Burial Society operate?

A Burial Society operates pretty much like a Stokvel in the sense that there are agreed contributions that you have to make in order for you to receive returns. The difference is that you only receive a pay-out in the event of death – either your own or the death of your nominated beneficiaries. There are no scheduled pay-outs at all and it is a universal rule that should a new member join the society, they’re not able to make a claim for the first 3 months of memebership.


How and where can I join a Burial Society?

A Burial Society is usually started by a group of people who has the same goal in mind – that of making sure that provision will be available should there be a loss in their families. Joining a Burial Society is fairly easy. You will start by paying a joining fee, which is non-refundable, thereafter you will continue to make fortnightly or monthly contributions. Some of the top insurance companies in South Africa also offer their services in looking after the Burial Society’s investments.


What are the benefits included when joining a Burial Society?

  • Burial Societies offer low monthly premiums. Lower than what you would pay for taking out a Funeral Policy. Burial Societies is so much more affordable making it ideal for lower-income earners and people living in impoverished conditions.
  • There are no additional costs such as administration costs as if you would take out a Funeral Policy and pay the company that holds your policy.
  • You have easy access to funds should you need it and the waiting period when making a could be less than 24 hours (due to the fact that members of the society usually know each other and the need for documentation as proof of death is not that essential and can be provided at a later stage.)
  • Members of the society will lend a hand on the day of the funeral to assist with things such as preparing food and attending to flower arrangements.
  • There are normally no waiting period or exclusions for unnatural causes of death.
  • Repatriation costs are also covered.


Who can I cover and what are the costs?

Depending on the constitution of the Burial Society that you belong to, you will be able to provide cover for yourself as well as nominate a number of beneficiaries. Pay-outs will be adjusted in accordance with the number of people you decide to nominate as beneficiaries.

The cost, which will be an affordable amount for all the members will be determined when a decision has been made as to what it is that members want to have at their funeral, i.e. special cars for the family, catering for the mourners, slaughtering of livestock etc.


“David Neves, senior researcher at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, believes that burial societies have stood the test of time in South Africa because, although they are largely unregulated, they have remained more cost-effective than formal providers, who predominantly view the poor as a market to be exploited.”

Join a Burial Society today, and get the peace of mind knowing that your last resting place is taken care of.


- Enzo Leigh Botes

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