Ethembeni Memorial Park - a ‘ghost town’

2016-04-27 06:00
Ethembeni          Memorial Park has been neglected by the Msunduzi           Municipality, as a result residents do not know who to turn to for             tombstone permits.  PHOTOS: NQOBILE MTOLO

Ethembeni Memorial Park has been neglected by the Msunduzi Municipality, as a result residents do not know who to turn to for tombstone permits. PHOTOS: NQOBILE MTOLO

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ETHEMBENI Memorial Park in Lincoln Mead is in ruins following its ownership by the Msunduzi Municipality three years ago.

This inconveniences and irritates Pietermaritzburg residents who want to apply for tombstones to be erected on their loved one’s graves because they have no one to help them on-site. Maritzburg Echo reporter recently visited Ethembeni Memorial Park and found that the offices have been abandoned and there was no sign of an employee to explain the situation and why the area has turned to a ghost town. In one of the offices books and papers were strewn across the floor and in the other doors were simply locked to keep intruders out. There was no sign of a security on site and the place is vulnerable to vandalism and theft.

One of the affected residents is Nomusa Xulu, who recently took five weeks off from work so she could buy tombstones for her loved ones.

“For weeks I have been sent from pillar to post, but no one knows who to speak to when one requires a tombstone permit at Ethembeni Memorial Park. The officials know nothing, nor do they know who is responsible for giving out permits. One of them told me that three years ago the Msunduzi Municipality bought Ethembeni Memorial­ Park but when I went to the offices in Lincoln Mead there was no one on site. The place is like a ghost town. You are even scared to go there on your own because there might be thugs living there,” said Xulu.

She has since resumed her duties at work without getting help.

In one of the municipality’s Executive Committee meetings last October, it emerged that the Msunduzi Municipality aimed to acquire 10 hectares for burial space at Ethembeni Memorial Park.

The suspended municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi was quoted as saying that the land at Ethembeni will be acquired using funds that were given to the municipality by the Department of Human Settlements.

“In view of the shortage of burial space we are recommending that the economic development business unit engage with the Department of Human Settlements requesting permission to allow the Msunduzi Municipality to utilise 10 hectares for burial space at Ethembeni Memorial Park, which already has an approved environmental authorisation,” he said.

Two weeks ago Maritzburg Echo approached the Msunduzi Municipality seeking clarity on the situation at Ethembeni Memorial Park.

At the time of print the municipality had failed to respond.

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