TRANSPORT THE BODY
& GET A NOTICE OF DEATH

You need to have your loved one’s body moved to a suitable mortuary and acquire a notice of death. A notice of death is a critical piece of paperwork that you need to obtain immediately after the death of your loved one. The notice of death referred to here is not the ‘Death Certificate’ from Home Affairs, (see Obtain a Death Certificate page).

Both the procedures of obtaining a Notice of Death and the transporting of the body to a mortuary are dependent on where and how your loved one died.

DIED IN
HOSPITAL

NATURAL CAUSES

If your loved one died in hospital of natural causes
(After a long illness or heart attack for example)
If your loved one died in hospital of natural causes (After a long illness or heart attack for example)
A Notice of Death as well as a Medical Certificate for Cremation (if your loved one’s wish was to be cremated) will be issued by the doctor in the hospital. State Hospitals generally have mortuary facilities and your loved one’s body will remain there until a death notice is issued. Many private hospitals don’t have mortuary facilities, in such a case contact your chosen funeral home as soon as possible and ask for the Funeral Director to arrange the moving of the body to a mortuary. You will have to hand the deceased’s ID over to the Funeral Director who may need to present it to the hospital when collecting the certificates. Lastly, remember to collect the deceased’s personal belongings.

DIED IN
HOSPITAL

UNNATURAL CAUSES

If your loved one died in hospital of unnatural causes

(A suicide, homicide, an accident or as a result of a procedure in hospital for example)

If your loved one died in hospital of unnatural causes (A suicide, homicide, an accident or as a result of a procedure in hospital for example)
Contact your chosen funeral home as soon as possible and ask for the Funeral Director to arrange the moving of the body to a state mortuary for a compulsory autopsy. You will have to hand the deceased’s ID over to the Funeral Director who may need to present it to the hospital when collecting the certificates.

The mortuary will issue a Notice of Death after an autopsy has been performed, as well as a Medical Certificate for Cremation if your loved one’s wish was to be cremated.

Lastly, remember to collect the deceased’s personal belongings.

DIED AT
HOME

NATURAL CAUSES

If your loved one died at home of natural causes

(After a long illness or heart attack for example)

If your loved one died at home of natural causes (After a long illness or heart attack for example)
Contact the deceased’s doctor who might be willing to issue a death notice if he/she has seen the deceased within a reasonable time and is certain of the cause of death. In this case contact your chosen funeral home and ask for the Funeral Director to arrange for the removal of the body to a mortuary. To be able to obtain a Medical Certificate for Cremation (if your loved one’s wish was to be cremated) a second doctor has to sign the cremation forms after examining the body The forms are then handed to the medical referee at the crematorium who will give the final permission for the cremation to take place. If the doctor is unwilling to issue a death notice or is unavailable, contact a Medical Response team, such as NetCare 911 or ER24, who will arrange for the body to be taken to a mortuary after they have determined if the death was natural or unnatural. If natural, they will issue a Declaration of Death (DOD) form. They will then usually call the SA Police Service to come and confirm that the death was by natural causes. The SAPS officer will issue a SAP 180 form.

Copies of the Declaration of Death (DOD) and SAP 180 forms, as well as the deceased’s ID should be given to the Funeral Director. The Funeral Director will then forward copies to the deceased’s family doctor or specialist, who in turn will issue the Notice of Death. The notice of death as well as the Medical Certificate for Cremation (if your loved one’s wish was to be cremated) will be collected by the Funeral Director a day or two later.

An autopsy does not have to be performed in the case of a natural death, but if it will help bring closure, you have the right to arrange for a private autopsy through your chosen funeral home. Ask for costs before you proceed.

DIED AT
HOME

UNNATURAL CAUSES

If your loved one died at home of unnatural causes

(A suicide, homicide or an accident for example)

If your loved one died at home of unnatural causes (A suicide, homicide or an accident for example)
Contact 10111 or your Local SAPS who will arrange for the body to be taken to a state mortuary where pathologist will most likely perform an autopsy. An official at the state mortuary may ask you to provide the deceased medical history, and may decide that an autopsy is unnecessary. The pathologist will sign and the Department of Health will issue the Notice of Death as well as a Medical Certificate for Cremation, if your loved one’s wish was to be cremated. Call your chosen Funeral Director who will help you with everything except for the identification of the body.

DIED IN
ACCIDENT

IN YOUR
ABSENCE

If your loved one died in an accident in your absence

(Car accident for example)

If your loved one died in an accident in your absence (Car accident for example)
You will most likely be notified of the death once the body is already in a mortuary. Immediately call your chosen Funeral Director who will help you with everything except for the identification of the body. The mortuary will issue a Notice of Death as well as a Medical Certificate for Cremation if your loved one’s wish was to be cremated.

Protect your loved ones &

Get your own
affairs in order
Before it is too late!

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, all come from earth, and to earth all return.

Ashes to ashes,
dust to dust,
all come from earth,
and to earth all return.

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