New sites explored as burial options

2018-03-13 06:01

You may soon have to lay your loved ones to rest even further away from home, as the City of Cape Town’s graveyards continue to fill up. This was stated during a recent Area South oversight meeting, in which a presentation on local cemeteries was given.

Due to the shortage of local burial space and the lack of suitable land to develop, residents in the South may need to consider burial in areas such as Atlantis or Eerste River in future.

During the presentation, it was stated that only one cemetery – in Ocean View – in Area South has a lifespan of more than 10 years. Plumstead Cemetery relies on pathway burials and grave reopening, while Muizeberg and Klip cemeteries have a lifespan of three to five years.

Noordhoek, Dido Valley, Seaforth and Parish Road (Constantia) cemeteries are full.

Ottery Cemetery is also full, but offers grave reopening, the presentation stated.

However, there are plans to create more cemeteries which will see South Peninsula residents burying their loved ones in Mfuleni and Somerset West.

Mayco member (East) Anda Ntsodo says two new cemeteries will be developed at the Metro South-east (MSE) Cemetery in Old Faure Road, Mfuleni, and the Vaalfontein Cemetery in Old Faure Road in Firgrove, Somerset West

“The MSE Cemetery Phase 1 (largely civil works) is currently being constructed and will be completed by August. This will be followed by the Phase 2 building contract, the office and ablution facilities and perimeter fencing. The cemetery is expected to be actively utilised by July next year.

“The Vaalfontein Cemetery is currently undergoing an environmental approval process which is expected to receive final approval by June. The advertising of the tender for the Vaalfontein Cemetery development is naturally subject to environmental approval and this cemetery is expected to be completed and active by 2020.”

Other options, including a cemetery in Tafelsig and extensions to existing cemeteries, are also being explored.

Ntsodo adds: “A mausoleum (144 aboveground burial crypts) was built in Maitland Cemetery. If this burial option proves to become more popular, then this concept might well be made available in the Area South cemeteries.

“This option is especially suited to existing cemeteries where the water table is too high during winter, therefore prohibiting ground burials. Where communities are not religiously or culturally opposed to cremation, new and more attractive options are being considered for the burial of cremated remains.

“Memorial benches and trees can be considered in parks rather than cemeteries, where cremated remains can be buried in the tree hole or under the platform of the bench. The burial of human remains is limited to cemeteries, whereas cremated remains can be buried in an existing family grave, interred in a niche in the cemetery or at a church, or scattered on land, mountains or in the sea.”

Residents can also reduce the demand on cemeteries by considering weekday burials, Ntsodo says.

“Currently, 64% of burials take place on Saturdays between 11:00 and 14:00, thereby causing serious traffic jams and overcrowding. Reusing a family grave where there is sufficient depth for a second coffin to be buried on top will also assist in the densification of burials and reduction of demand for new cemetery development.

“Statistics indicate that 34% of burials are second interments in private family graves.

“The fact that 40% of our community have chosen cremation represents a saving of five rugby fields’ worth of burial space per year, as we are currently consuming seven rugby fields’ worth of burial space per year with the 60% who have chosen burial.”

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