Consult communities before burial plans, urges commission

2011-08-04 13:28

More consultation is needed before burial plan by-laws are implemented in the eThekwini municipality, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) said today.

“The commission appreciates efforts undertaken by the eThekwini municipality to address the lack of burial space, but would like to advise them to do more consultations with the affected communities,” chief executive Pheagane Solomon Moreroa said in a statement.

He was responding to a report in the Times newspaper about a proposal by the city to ban burials on Sundays, to fine latecomer mourners and recycle graves.

The proposal, which was put forward at a meeting this week, angered Durban’s traditional and community leaders, the newspaper wrote.

The city’s parks, leisure and cemeteries department said there was a scarcity of cemetery space, and that communities had to consider alternative burial methods, like cremation.

The department’s deputy head Christo Swart said tombstones were an obstacle in the municipality’s plans to re-use or maintain graves.

Moreroa said many cultural and religious communities regarded burial grounds as sacred sites.

“The CRL Rights Commission would like to request national, provincial government departments and municipalities to broadly take into account cultural and religious rights of communities before they embark on such an activity,” he said.

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