City fixes broken furnaces

2015-12-22 09:56
Mountain Rise Crematorium furnaces have been sent for repairs although it is still the subject of litigation.

Mountain Rise Crematorium furnaces have been sent for repairs although it is still the subject of litigation. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Although the legal wrangle surrounding the Mountain Rise cremators is continuing, Msunduzi Municipality have begun repairs on the two furnaces in question.

Two of the four furnaces are the subject of litigation between the city and the suppliers after the cremators continuously broke down shortly after being purchased earlier this year.

“The cremators have been handed over to the contractor Trident Refractory Specialists and work will commence … with completion scheduled for January 14, 2016. All work will be supervised by SSA Electrical and Mechanical Engineers,” read the report to the city council.

Chairperson of the Msunduzi Crematorium and Cemeteries Concerned Citizens Committee (MCCCCC) Ranjiv Nirghin said that although the broken cremators form the basis of a legal battle, the city and the committee consulted with their legal team and decided to continue with the repairs needed to ensure the proper functioning of the crematorium.

Grieving families felt the sting when the cremators could not be used and another of the four was then sent in for repairs. Council found it difficult to deal with the lack of capacity.

The city said they were exploring avenues to purchase another furnace to ensure there was sufficient capacity to deal with cremations at peak times. Nirghin said that the new machine should be installed early in the new year.

In the report it was also noted that there had been considerable changes to emission regulations in terms of which all new cremators must be fitted with a filtration system. The filtration system, on its own, costs R2,1 million.

“This has been reported to the manager of Parks and Recreation who is currently sourcing funds for the filtration unit,” the report stated further.

While the three furnaces were out of commission since September, local undertakers were forced to book cremations until 7 pm on weekends.

The owner of a funeral home in Pietermaritzburg, who asked not to be named, said he had advised families to go to Durban crematoriums in fear that the one working furnace at the time would “sooner or later” also break down.

Although the Mountain Rise Cemetery and Crematorium had come under fire from the public and undertakers, significant progress has been made.

The crematorium now has 24-hour security and is enclosed with palisade fencing and proper guard houses. There is also a proper external prayer area and washing facilities as well as refurbished ablution facilities. More seating for mourners as well as external lighting and bulk gas supply have also been added.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg

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