From our many years of experience of cremation and our experience in dealing with bereaved families,
we have compiled the following questions and answers that cover concerns most often expressed..

May members of all religious groups be cremated?

No.  Although most Christian denominations permit cremation, it is forbidden for Muslims and Orthodox Jews.  We recommend that you first discuss your denomination’s stand on cremation with your pastor/reverend before making any arrangements.

May a Roman Catholic be cremated?

The Roman Catholic Church has permitted cremation since 1965, provided the motive in requesting it is not anti-doctrinal.

Must there be a religious ceremony with cremation?

No.  You may choose a secular ceremony should you desire.  However, should you wish to have a religious ceremony, but do not have a specific clergyman in mind, Grobbelaars will arrange for one to conduct a service.

Must I have the funeral service at the crematorium?

No. Some prefer to have the full funeral service conducted either at their local church, at a funeral home, or at some other place of their choice.  Some request that a portion of the service be held at their local church, with a short committal service in the crematorium chapel, or that the full service be conducted in the crematorium chapel.

Is there any provision for the use of music at a crematorium?

Yes. Most crematoria provide an organ.  However, with so many different denominations using a crematorium, it is impossible to supply hymn books for each church.  Your funeral director will be able to provide printed hymn sheets by prior arrangement.

How is a cremation arranged?

Contact Grobbelaars at 012 329 3682 and we will assist you with all the arrangements.

Who gives permission for a cremation to take place?

Permission may only be given by a Medical Referee appointed by the crematorium authority.  No cremation may take place without his/her authority.  Before giving his/her authority, the Medical Referee must satisfy himself/herself that the deceased has been identified; that the primary cause of death has been established beyond doubt;  and that cremation is not contrary to the written wishes of the deceased.  He normally relies on the Application for Cremation, together with a Medical Declaration from the doctor who attended the deceased in the final illness, as well as a Confirmatory Medical Declaration from a second doctor, who confirms the findings of the first doctor relating to the cause of death.  Should the Medical Referee decline to authorize cremation, a private autopsy will be necessary if you still desire cremation.

Grobbelaars Funeral Services will arrange all the above documentation for you.

Is it true that pacemakers or other radioactive implants must be removed before cremation?

Yes. These implants can explode at high temperatures, not only causing damage to crematories, but also placing crematorium staff at risk.

What happens at the crematorium on the day of the funeral?

The coffin may be placed on the catafalque before the mourners enter, or it may be carried into the chapel followed by the mourners in procession.  At the moment of committal, the coffin may be obscured from view by means of curtains closing around it, it may be withdrawn through a gateway, or it may be left on the catafalque until the mourners have left the chapel. The method varies at each crematorium and your cremation director will be able to give you advice concerning local customs.

What happens to the coffin after the committal?

It is withdrawn into the committal room, where the nameplate is checked with the “Authority to Cremate” to ensure the correct identity.Most crematoria remove the external non-combustible fittings prior to the cremation and either hand undamaged fittings back to the funeral director or destroy them, in accordance with regulations.

Is the coffin cremated with the body?

Yes.  The coffin as received is always cremated.

Is more than one coffin cremated at one time in a cremator?

No. By special arrangement, a parent and a child could be cremated together, but the design of modern crematories does not allow for two adults to be cremated together.

How long does the cremation process normally last?

Approximately 90 minutes

What happens with precious and other metals?

The temperature at which modern crematoria operate (between 800°C and 1 000 °C) is such that metals are fused with other material so that they are not recognizable. Any metallic material residue from a cremation is normally disposed of in accordance with the instructions of the relevant crematorium authority.  It is therefore strongly recommended that any items of jewellery should be removed by the family after death and prior to cremation.

How do I know I will get the right remains?

As each cremator will only accept one adult coffin, and the remains must be withdrawn before the cremator is used again, all remains are kept separate throughout the process.  All crematoria have some means of uniquely identifying remains and families can rest assured that the correct remains are ultimately handed over.

What options do I have with the remains?

Grobbelaars & Church Funeral Services will assist the family regarding placing of the cremated remains.  The family ultimately makes the final decision.

Is it possible to send remains to other parts of the country or overseas?

Yes, Grobbelaars will will arrange this for you with the necessary documentation.

Is cremation more expensive than burial?

No.  Although the funeral director’s charges are much the same for both services, the additional cost of the grave and the opening and closing fee is generally much higher than that charged for cremation.  In addition, with burial, there are the ongoing costs of grave maintenance and grave memorialisation.

Is cremation not an aid to the concealing of a crime by eliminating evidence?

No, because the primary cause of death must be ascertained before permission is given by the Medical Referee to cremate.

How can I ensure that I am cremated when I die?

Leave specific instructions and notify your next of kin of your wishes.   This will spare your family much distress.