Rules for burial get ink on paper

2015-07-07 06:02

The City of Cape Town plans to set down rules for burial in municipal cemeteries with specific religious bodies as a way of regulating the current unofficial practices.

In order to formalise the long-standing informal agreements between the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the Jewish Cemeteries Maintenance Board (CTJCMB) and the United Chevra Kadisha (UCK), the City intends signing a 20-year legal agreement to ensure that the responsibilities of the various partners are clearly understood.

Through these agreements, the City will formally grant rights to use and manage those sections of the properties which contain allocated burial allotments for the different communities. The agreements are intended to regularise the activities of the MJC, the CTJCMB and the UCK.

These religious groups have a common requirement to bury on the same day as death, which has resulted in these communities playing a more active role in providing for services and extended working hours, in addition to that which the municipality is able to offer.

Furthermore, these agreements will also enable the City parks department to exercise contractual rights and obligations imposed on these organisations, explains Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.

“We respect the religious and cultural beliefs of our communities and will do everything we can, in our capacity, to accommodate them. In addition, we want to ensure that their loved ones go to their final resting place with dignity and respect,” she says.

The granting of rights for the MJC relates to the cemeteries in Atlantis, Delft, Khayelitsha, Kleinvlei, Klip, Maitland, Modderdam, Muizenberg, Wallacedene and Welmoed.

The allotments provided have been sized in accordance with anticipated burial requirements. Such provision takes into consideration the critical need for space in both private and municipal cemeteries, Walker says.

The granting of rights for the CTJCMB and the UCK relates to the Maitland, Muizenberg, Pinelands and Strand cemeteries.

“The City has taken great strides in making more space-efficient burial and interment options available, while upholding respect for cultural and religious diversity as a priority,” Walker says.

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