Ekurhuleni facing grave problem

2014-12-17 20:52

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Johannesburg - A conversation on alternative burial methods should begin in earnest, as Ekurhuleni, like other cities in South Africa, is running out of space for new cemeteries, the metro said on Wednesday.

"The City of Ekurhuleni welcomes the ongoing debate relating to its alternative burial methods stemming from traditional media and trending on social media this week," spokesperson Themba Gadebe said in a statement.

"Currently Ekurhuleni has only 30 years in burial capacity."

The metro was aware the matter was sensitive due to cultural and religious beliefs, and the emotions involved.

"However, when all is said and done, reality demands of us that we find equal footing and unite in the resolve to tackle this challenge," Gadebe said.

Ekurhuleni had implemented alternative methods for the effective use of burial space, in addition to traditional interment.

The methods were reselling graves back to council by people who had previously reserved them and decided to use other methods instead, cremation, and burying up to three relatives in one grave.

Gadebe said it was inconceivable that a person would be asked to open a loved one's grave for a stranger to be buried in it.

"This is not the true reflection of the city's alternative burial strategy," he said.

Relatives and undertakers were informed of the options to bury family members on top of each other in the same grave.

For this to happen the family had to fill in a form asking the municipality to re-open the grave.

The cemetery officer checked the register and physically inspected the grave with the family member to ensure it was the right grave, before approving the application.

It was the family's responsibility to remove the tombstone at its own cost, in cases where there was a tombstone.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  service delivery

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