What you Need to Know About Exhumation

Exhumation is the removal of human remains from a grave to either a new burial site or a crematorium.


To arrange an exhumation, you will need permission from the relevant government departments (usually the provincial departments of health, development and planning), as well as from the city’s medical officer. A police officer must be present at the exhumation.

If the burial plot belonged to the deceased or the deceased’s family, it will remain theirs after the exhumation. If not, it will remain the property of the council.

Thom Kight & Company can assist you with applying for and obtaining the permission needed to arrange an exhumation, including the payment of the necessary fees. We can also arrange transporting the remains to either a new burial site or a crematorium.


It can be distressing for a family to exhume a loved one but sometimes there is a need for this, especially for either personal or legal reasons:

  • International repatriation or local relocation of the mortal remains to a family grave
  • The family decided to cremate the remains and scatter the ashes at a more meaningful place
  • If legally requested for DNA testing or a criminal investigation
  • If the cemetery must make place for another construction development


If the exhumation of a loved one is necessary, Thom Kight & Company can help with:

  • All practical arrangements such as equipment, facilities, transportation and necessary human resources to carry out the exhumation
  • Administrative and legal requirements such as permits and licenses
  • Housing and preparing the mortal remains for the service of your choice
  • Dealing with official departments and authorities

Once this has been done, the state mortuary will give the family a release document. This document must then be given to the funeral directors, who can then arrange to move the deceased to a private mortuary.


Further considerations may include the removal of a headstone from the grave as well as dues for the various services and staff to cover the whole process of exhumation.

Thom Kight & Company is able to ease your burden and can manage the entire process on your behalf.


Thom Kight & Company has years of experience in international repatriation and an extensive network of trusted partners across the globe to take care of every detail. Contact us and we will advise you on what to do. GET IN TOUCH

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We provide high-quality services in line with the Industry's code
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Quality and standards are what bereaved families assume, want, and expect from funeral directors. We are a member of the World Organisation of Funeral Operatives (FIAT–IFTA) and a founding member of the Independent Funeral Directors Association of Southern Africa (IFDA). To maintain high standards, our staff undertakes continued training and reviews professional practice standards.