Grave sites to run out soon

2010-09-13 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG will soon run out of grave sites because, in a space of six months, the Mountain Rise cemetery will have no more land to bury the dead.

This was revealed by the Msunduzi Municipality’s Parks and Recreation manager, Steven Naicker, during an executive committee (Exco) meeting on Thursday.

Naicker said the severity of the situation has worsened as a result of a number of deaths due to the HIV/Aids pandemic. He said this has rapidly diminished space available at existing cemeteries.

Exco members learnt that the Msunduzi Municipality will spend R38,6 million to construct infrastructure at the new Hollingwood Cemetery near Sobantu, which was started in June.

The money will be used over the next three financial years to construct roads, parking areas and to fence off the cemetery.

“We would engage the uMgungundlovu District Municipality in the sharing of cost of building the new cemetery,” said Naicker.

He said the Hollingwood and Azalea cemeteries are the only burial space alternatives available, although he warned that Azalea is also running out of space.

“Whereas the Hollingwood cemetery near Sobantu is big enough to accommodate the whole of Pietermaritzburg, the problem is that the residents of Sobantu want to build houses on that site,” said Naicker.

He said the community of Sobantu demands compensation if their land is converted into a cemetery. Exco members called for political intervention and negotiations with the community about the burial space.

“People need to understand that a cemetery requires a specific piece of land to be able to build a cemetery because not just any place is suitable for that purpose,” Naicker said.

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