Graves stripped of ‘gold’

2016-09-20 06:00
Peter Parenzee says engraving with letters that look like gold have been stolen, but thieves think it’s real gold. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Peter Parenzee says engraving with letters that look like gold have been stolen, but thieves think it’s real gold. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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A Southfield resident has been left heartbroken after his wife’s grave at Plumstead Cemetery was vandalised.

Peter Parenzee, from Southfield, found out during a recent visit, that the gold engraving on the tombstone had been stolen.

According to Parenzee the thieves also took picture frames that were painted in gold, “probably thinking (they were real)” – not only from his wife’s grave, but from others in the cemetery that had similar decorations.

“I couldn’t believe it. Who does that? They mistook it for real gold and also took the frames.We paid a lot of money to have this done for loved ones who are no longer with us,” he says.

Parenzee says the cemetery gates are often left wide open with no supervision.

“Anyone can come in and out as they please. On days when its quiet, the gates should be locked. The security offices are far so they can’t see everything. We asked for people to patrol here, but all in vain. The grass is up to knee height and no-one cuts it.”

Parenzee says the main problem is that of the engraving being stolen. “It breaks my heart. They also used to steal flowers and resell them. Now that is better because people cut them short so the thieves can’t really do anything with them,” he says.

Dave Davison, who also had engraving stolen, says: “No-one ever thinks about something like this happening, so you never prepare for it. It comes as a shock. Just when you think you have done something for your loved one you have to do it again because someone stole it. With the gates left open, a lot of things can go wrong. We want the gates to be closed.”

Parenzee says there is a security company that is supposed to be patrolling there, but they haven’t seen anyone.

“Patrols will be helpful. However, they come and go so we can’t rely on them. For now we just have to count on the gates being closed,” he says.

Diep River police spokesperson Warrant Officer Keith Chandler says they have not had a reported case in the last three years. “Affected people can report any such case.The only cases that the cemetery reports is when their offices have been broken into or equipment goes missing. We have also had cases where family have visited the grave and their cars were broken into or they were robbed. A case of ‘grave desecration’ will be opened if such a case would be reported,” he says.

Anda Ntsodo, Mayco member for community service, says the City Parks department has not been able to appoint new contractors to take up the mowing service due to an appeal being lodged by one of the companies. “In the interim, we will appoint a vendor by the beginning of October which should resolve the mowing problems within the cemetery. Once this is in place, we will revert to mowing the cemetery on a monthly basis,” he says.

He says currently gates are open during the day, as well as over weekends and public holidays.

“This is in order to allow access to those visitors who can only visit after normal working hours. The City Parks department is providing a public service that seeks to accommodate visitors to the cemeteries, and their available times given personal work schedules. However, the department has received requests to close off certain gates during the day and only have them open while there are burials taking place. The reasoning behind this request is that with vandalism becoming problematic some of the gates create an easy escape route for these perpetrators. Although we have one security officer on duty after hours, as well as during the day over weekends and public holidays, it can be appreciated that he is not able to cover all areas of the cemetery.”

A Southfield resident has been left heartbroken after his wife’s grave at Plumstead Cemetery was vandalised.

Peter Paranzee, from Southfield, foundout during a recent visit, that the gold engraving on the tombstone had been stolen.

According to Paranzee the thieves also took picture frames that were painted in gold, “probably thinking (they were real)” – not only from his wife’s grave, but from others in the cemetery that had similar decorations. “I couldn’t believe it. Who does that? They mistook it for real gold and also took the frames.”

Paranzee says the main problem is that of the engraving being stolen.

Paranzee says the cemetery gates are often left wide open with no supervision.

“Anyone can come in and out as they please. On days when its quiet, the gates should be locked. The security offices are far so they can’t see everything. The grass is up to knee height and no-one cuts it.”

Dave Davison, who also had engraving stolen, says: “Just when you think you have done something for your loved one you have to do it again because someone stole it. With the gates left open, a lot of things can go wrong. We want the gates to be closed.”

Paranzee says there is a security company that is supposed to be patrolling there, but they haven’t seen anyone.

Diep River police spokesperson Warrant Officer Keith Chandler says they have not had a reported case in the last three years.

“Affected people can report any such case.The only cases that the cemetery reports is when their offices have been broken into or equipment goes missing. We have also had cases where family have visited the grave and their cars were broken into or they were robbed. A case of ‘grave desecration’ will be opened if such a case would be reported,” he says.

Anda Ntsodo, Mayco member for community service, says the City Parks department has not been able to appoint new contractors to take up the mowing service due to an appeal being lodged by one of the companies.

“In the interim, we will appoint a vendor by the beginning of October which should resolve the mowing problems within the cemetery. Once this is in place, we will revert to mowing the cemetery on a monthly basis,” he says.

He says currently gates are open during the day, as well as over weekends and public holidays.

“This is in order to allow access to those visitors who can only visit after normal working hours.

“However, the department has received requests to close off certain gates during the day and only have them open while there are burials taking place. The reasoning behind this request is that with vandalism becoming problematic some of the gates create an easy escape route for these perpetrators. Although we have one security officer on duty after hours, as well as during the day over weekends and public holidays, it can be appreciated that he is not able to cover all areas of the cemetery.”

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