Grave shortage at crisis point

2013-06-14 00:00

THE dire shortage of burial space in Pietermarizburg has finally reached crisis point.

At Mountain Rise cemetery, burials are taking place in the road reserves. And Azalea in Imbali — the only other municipal cemetery that was operational — closed last month, eventually having run out of space.

Residents there protested that the burial area was encroaching on land that had been reserved for grazing and housing.

Yesterday, Msunduzi executive committee (Exco) members heard that ironically, the only cemetery currently being used was an unofficial one in Willowfoutain.

In 1978, the commuity in the area set aside land for a cemetery and to date there are some 4 000 grave sites there. The community has since asked the municipality to formally recognise the cemetery and get it legally established.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi told Exco that they had hoped the Hollingwood cemetery, near Sobantu, would have been ready to avert the crisis.

However, this project was delayed because nearby residents waged a protracted protest, wanting the land for housing. Eventually a compromise was reached with some land set aside for housing. When the project eventually got under way it became embroiled in a tender dispute. A bidder for the work disputed the awarding of the contract to another company.

Nkosi said they decided to redo the entire tender process as this would cause less of a delay. He said to avoid a similar controversy, they outsourced the awarding of the contract to experts outside the municipality. “I am happy to say that the process is on track and the work should be starting shortly,” Nkosi said.

He warned Exco that they must begin looking now for other available sites for cemeteries as Hollingwood could fill up in 10 years. “You have to start planning for life beyond Hollingwood,” added Nkosi.

The DA’s Bill Lambert said when he became a councillor about 20 years ago, the shortage of space in the cemeteries was on the agenda then.

He appealed for better care of the cemeteries, saying he had just returned from Belgium and one of the tourist attractions he visited there was a cemetery.

Mayor Chris Ndlela agreed with him, saying that “in some of our cultures there was no holier place than a cemetery and they needed to be taken care of and maintained”. Ndlela mentioned the historic Georgetown cemetery that was in a neglected state.

Exco supported a recommendation that cemetery experts SRK Consulting be asked to explore whether any more burial space could be found at Azalea and Sinathing cemeteries, which had also been closed.

Nkosi added that all cemeteries in the municipality would have to be fenced to be in compliance with legisation that governs cemeteries.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.