Undertakers defend themselves over ‘missing’ tombstones

2018-02-07 06:00

FUNERAL parlours have come forward defending themselves on the claims that were made by Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha two weeks ago.

Mafumbatha said undertakers remove tombstones at the Mountain Rise Cemetery if the family fails to pay. Mafumbatha was responding to the issue of tombstones that have gone missing from grave sites at the cemetery.

Funeral parlours have come forward stating that there is no guarantee or proof that tombstones are being removed by them.

Anthony Holby of Holby Funeral Home said tombstones have to be paid for before erection. He said undertakers order and then pay the supplier.

“Mountain Rise Cemeteries is an unsecured public place. Criminals are aware that there is no security in the cemetery’s grave yard. The municipality only has one man at each main entrance but there is no security at the Northdale entrance. What can two guys do in such a huge cemetery?

“Anyone is allowed to enter. People can easily drive in and remove the slab. No one is going to see them. I have stopped selling tombstones because of this problem. I don’t want to be blamed for something that I don’t know about,” he said.

Muzi Mkhize of Khayelihle Funeral Services said he is aware of the problem and that they are looking for a solution.

“I have had a lot of tombstones stolen, not only in Mountain Rise but from other cemeteries as well.

From now on I have decided that when I am erecting a tombstone I will write the name of the deceased even in the slab just to be safe and stop these people from stealing them. I think that this will be a solution for everyone who is facing this problem,” he said.

Mkhize did not want to comment on the allegations that they remove the tombstones if the family fails to pay. However, he said he heard that it is the people from outside Pietermaritzburg who are stealing the slabs.

Another funeral parlour owner who did not want his name or business’s name mentioned, said the municipality must create stricter laws for those who enter the cemetery.

“There must be security to monitor the situation. Cars that are leaving cemeteries must also be searched,” he said.

Apart from tombstones being stolen there are also allegations of people getting robbed while visiting their loved ones graves.

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