Notice of death
In terms of the Act, a death must be notified to a person authorised under section 4 of the Act to receive such notices. Presently, the following persons are so authorised:
- Specific officers on the establishment of Home Affairs offices
- SAPS members, primarily in respect of areas where Home Affairs has no offices
- Funeral undertakers appointed as Section 4 officers
An abridged death certificate is issued free of charge upon registration of a death (same day). All further issues are subject to completion of a BI-132 application form and payment of the prescribed fee of R10-00.
A full (unabridged) death certificate is also available. The requirements are completion of application form (BI-132) and payment of the prescribed fee of R45-00 for such certificates.
Applications for death certificates should be lodged at your nearest Home Affairs office if applying from within South Africa and at the nearest South African Mission or Consulate if applying from abroad (applications from abroad may take longer depending on the different diplomatic bag dispatch periods).
It is important to note that, in terms of the Act, no burial may take place unless authorised by way of a burial order (BI-14).
The persons referred to above are authorised to receive BI-1663 notices of death, to complete the death registers concerned, and to issue burial orders.
The normal process regarding the notification and registration of a death is as follows:
- The medical practitioner who has examined the body of a deceased must complete a certificate of cause of death (BI-1663) and hand the documentation to the deceased's closest available next-of-kin, or the funeral undertaker responsible for the funeral arrangements, as the case may be. In terms of the Act, the medical practitioner must seal page 2 of the BI-1663 in an envelope, and affix it to page 1 of the BI-1663. Please note only an authorised Home Affairs officer is allowed to open the sealed envelope.
- The aforesaid next-of-kin, must then take the documentation to the funeral undertaker they have chosen to handle the funeral arrangements. If the funeral undertaker is authorised to receive notices of death, to complete death registers and to issue burial orders, the funeral undertaker will complete the appropriate sections of the BI-1663 and if the documentation is correct in all respects, issue a burial order, whereupon the funeral undertaker must submit the completed BI-1663 to a designated Home Affairs office for registration of the death and issuing of a death certificate which must then be transmitted to the next-of-kin.
- If the funeral undertaker is not authorised in terms of section 4 of the Act to receive notices of death (BI-1663), he or she may only complete part C of the BI-1663, whereupon the next-of-kin, or if requested by the next-of-kin to do so, the funeral undertaker must submit the documentation to the nearest Home Affairs office, or if there is no Home Affairs office in the area, the nearest Police Station for issuing of a burial order and further processing of the registration documentation.
Deaths outside South Africa
Deaths outside South Africa, of South African citizens and South African permanent residence holders must be reported to the nearest South African Embassy or Mission and a certified copy of the death certificate issued by the foreign country concerned be submitted. If the deceased is to be buried in South Africa, the Embassy or Mission will assist with the paperwork and arrangements in regard to transportation of the body to South Africa.