Crematorium crisis is over

2012-06-22 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg crematorium crisis is finally over.

The city now has two cremators that are fully functioning and the council has approved the purchase of two new cremators after July.

Community services portfolio committee chairperson Manilal Inderjit said the Msunduzi executive committee (Exco) had also approved a recommendation by his committee to employ a project manager for the crematorium. This was to address the need for people with technical expertise to manage the facility.

Inderjit told Exco yesterday that officials and councillors visited various cemeteries this year, including those at KwaDukuza and Clare Estate.

“This was an eye-opener because we did not only learn about crematoria, but we also learnt about the management of cemeteries,” he said.

Inderjit said he had encouraged undertakers who had stopped using the Mountain Rise facility and instead travelled to Port Shepstone and Durban to conduct cremations to support the new service.

The city’s crematorium crisis gave rise to the formation of the Mountain Rise Crematorium Crisis Committee (MCCC).

Fed-up residents complained about the poor service at the cemetery, the broken-down or malfunctioning cremators and the lack of maintenance of the facility.

The MCCC met the municipality and presented a list of grievances.

The chairperson, advocate Ranjiv Nirghin, said yesterday the MCCC was satisfied with the progress the council had made in addressing its concerns.

“We are happy that our monthly meetings with the municipal officials have finally borne fruit for the long-suffering ratepayers in the city.”

His committee also welcomed the fact that the municipality had advertised two positions for qualified people to work at the facility.

“We do have some concerns with management, but it is work in progress, and we will be calling for a public meeting to report on the progress that has been made.”

Inderjit said it was important to look after the Mountain Rise cemetery because it was home to the fourth ANC president, Josiah Gumede, and could become one of the city’s tourist attractions if well taken care of.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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