Tshwane must appoint grave diggers, court rules

2013-04-05 08:54

The Pretoria High Court has ordered the Tshwane metro council to urgently appoint a contractor to manage the digging of graves in the city’s cemeteries.

Since the end of March, many bereaved relatives have had to dig graves for their deceased because the city’s gravediggers have been on strike.

Elsabe Basilio, regional chairwoman of the National Funeral Director’s Association of South Africa, told Beeld they had approached the Pretoria High Court to force the metro to hire grave diggers.

Basilio said the metro’s contract with gravediggers had expired at the end of March, and that it had not paid the existing contractor for several months.

Sakkie Kidson (61) of Mokopane, and his brother-in-law, Warrant Officer William Dercksen of East Lynne, Pretoria, said they had been forced to dig a grave for Kidson’s late wife in the Zandfontein cemetery in Pretoria West.

Santa Kidson died last week and was buried yesterday.

“I was furious when I heard that they hadn’t dug a grave. The funeral is already an emotional event, and now we also have to dig a grave,” said Kidson’s nephew, Kallie Cremer.

An amount of R757 still had to be paid to the municipality, “even if you dig the hole yourself.”

Nomasonto Ndlovu, Tshwane metro spokeswoman, said the metro was aware that employees of the department of agriculture and environmental management were on strike.

“But no members of the public are allowed to dig graves. If that happens, it’s illegal and should be reported immediately in writing to the municipality,” she said.

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