Recycling of graves revisited

2016-02-24 06:00

THE eThekwini Municipality will be writing to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities for an extension regarding the decision to immediately cease reusing graves while alternate options are explored.
eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo and city officials appeared before the commission last week after concerns were raised about the city’s policy of reusing graves and they highlighted some of the challenges facing the city. This includes the severe shortage of grave sites. Currently 48 cemeteries were closed with only 17 cemeteries open. They are expected to be full in two years’ time.
Providing the Executive committee with an update following his appearance before the commission last week, Nxumalo said while the commission was concerned about the reusing of graves by different families, the process could not be phased out overnight.
“We will write a letter to the commission asking them to give us time to deal with the matter. The change cannot happen overnight, it’s a process that has to be phased out while we explore other options. This letter will be part of the opportunity the commission has given us to respond,” he said.
During the reusing of a grave, the remains are buried deeper and covered in soil, with another body put on top. Families opposed to this have an option to pay a lease fee every 10 years.
Nxumalo said the commission was concerned about the reusing of graves by various families.
“They indicated they don’t have a problem where someone from the same family reuses graves. We need to go back and review our policy and how we can mitigate these processes. We have to look into this issue to ensure we don’t find ourselves in a difficult position,” he said.
Deputy city manager Musa Gumede said municipal councillors were looking for space for new cemeteries, however, an extension was needed while the possibilities were discussed. He said public participation was also needed on the issue.
City manager Sibusiso Sithole said they need to speak to the commission about criteria while they explore options.
He said acquiring space was not easy as it competed with other needs, such as housing.
“That the land is suitable for burial also needs to be taken into consideration. The recycling of graves in one family is a short-term solution. Long-term we need other solutions to meet the city’s needs,” Sithole said.
- Supplied.

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