Cemetery squeeze

2011-08-05 00:00

WITH burial space rapidly running out at the Mountain Rise cemetery, the Msunduzi Municipality is taking an open-minded approach to find burial land in the city, municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said this week.

His statement was in response to questions that The Witness put to the municipality about the availability of burial land in the city following complaints from residents.

The residents told the newspaper that due to the unavailability of burial space residents are given the option of burying their loved ones in existing graves at Mountain Rise,

Zuma said “there is almost no space at all left in Mountain Rise”, but he declared that the municipality has never considered it an option to bury a person in an existing grave.

“As a municipality we cannot decide how people should be buried,” said Zuma. He said the municipality takes the matter of burial space very seriously and that it is moving fast within the technical constraints that come with the process.

“When we have made the breakthrough, we will make that announcement,” said Zuma

The Witness has learnt from municipal sources, who declined to be named, that the burial land at Hollingwood area, which for years has been earmarked for burial space and housing, will be ready for burials in about two months’ time.

Ward 35 councillor Thandi Matiwane’s ward incorporates the Hollingwood area where Sobantu residents have demanded that the land must be used for housing for them. She said the Sobantu residents still insist that part of the land should be allocated for housing.

A few years ago there was an attempted land grab in Hollingwood after Sobantu residents became worried that there would be no land allocated for housing projects.

Matiwane said there has been an urgent request from Sobantu residents that a housing project at Hollingwood be fast-tracked.

“Sobantu was established in 1929 and it has never been expanded. Generations of families squat in small yards,” she said.

Zuma said the issue of new housing at Hollingwood is a matter that is at a critical stage of discussion with the Department of Human Settlements, and consultation with the community is an ongoing process.

“We cannot pre-empt the outcome for the sake of making headlines in the newspapers.

“There are no worries about land grab at the moment — the situation is reasonably managed by all concerned,” Zuma said.

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