Graveyard theft distresses

2017-07-19 06:02
Lydia Sani next to the destroyed gravestone of her late husband, David Kekana Sani. Photo: Kgotso Molapo

Lydia Sani next to the destroyed gravestone of her late husband, David Kekana Sani. Photo: Kgotso Molapo

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The South Park cemetery in Bloemfontein is a “happy hunting ground” for thieves who are stealing tombstones worth thousands of rands.

The spate of theft of these memorials continues at an alarming rate in Bloemfontein, raising strong suspicions that funeral undertakers are part of the shameful crime of getting these items back to their place of business.

Express has been inundated by reports from disgusted families who discovered graves of their loved ones uncovered, with no memorials on them.

The syndicate targets mainly graves with complete granite tombstones, both headstones and flat slabs. The prices of these memorials differ, with the cheapest ranging between R20 000 and R30 000.

As thieves continue unaba-ted in stealing tombstones, the police is unable to crack down on the syndicate.

The latest casualties of grave tampering are the May, Sani and Choane families, who expressed utter disgust upon finding the graves of their loved ones open and tombstones nowhere to be found after recent customary visits.

Complete sets of tombstones (a headstone and flat slab) at the graves of Bereng Choane and David Sani had been stolen. Thieves also took the headstone from the grave of Nomathemba May.

A distressed Lydia Sani said this was the second time the grave of her late husband had been tampered with.

“It is worse this time, because thieves took the headstone and the flat slab. The first time was shortly after the burial in 2011, when thieves took only the headstone. I had to replace the stolen one. In total, I have spent no less than R31 000 to keep a monument to my husband,” she said.

Lydia said two days after the shocking discovery, she returned to the grave to find the part engraved with the name of her spouse back on the grave.

“The engraved part was originally on the headstone and was lying on the grave. Thieves had filled the grave with sand,” she said.

Steven May said he had payed R8 500 for the headstone of his late wife, Nomathemba.

“It is hardly a year since I have buried my wife with dignity, and now there is nothing to show her memories.

“This is hurting and a complete shame,” he said.

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.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

call centre agent

Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R4 000.00 Per Month Per Month

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

Elconop 3 / Elconop 1

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
R55.00 - R59.00 Per Hour

Property [change area]

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.