Final resting place disturbed

2019-08-29 06:02
Gravestones and the wall of remembrance at the Despatch cemetery have been vandalised.               Photo: Heilie Combrink

Gravestones and the wall of remembrance at the Despatch cemetery have been vandalised. Photo: Heilie Combrink

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DESPATCH cemetery has allegedly been vandalised by drug users who steal copper and other metals in order to sell at the scrap yards.

This is according to Councillor Francois Greyling who said it is upsetting that alleged drug users take down metal at the graveyard to sell for drugs.

“It is infuriating that people’s final resting place is not safe anymore. People are also scared to visit the final resting place of their loved ones because it is not safe,” said Greyling.

According to him it is a broader problem than just vandalising. The intruders deliberately break the gravestones while trying to get to the metal.

Apart from the gravestones and wall of remembrance which are being vandalised, the culprits also target the graveyard’s ablution facility to get hold of copper.

Greyling said there is currently no fencing around the cemetery.

“We previously tried to get fencing and cameras, but we had no success.”

Greyling further said he has written to the directorate of the cemetery to step in and provide more security guards on the premises, but the director reported that their security guards were laid off owing to budgeting.

“The cemetery is not getting enough attention from the municipality.

“We reported it to the police, and they said they would patrol the area, but the police cannot do it on their own, we need security on the premises throughout the day,” Greyling said.

Frans Swanepoel who has been living in Despatch for over 50 years said owing to the vandalization of the cemetery, people are forced to remove the ashes of their loved ones.

“Many people are moving the ashes of their loved ones to the wall of remembrance at the church,” he said.

Swanepoel said they have been struggling with this problem for a long time, but that it is getting worse.

Many members on the Inwoners van Despatch Facebook page expressed their views about the vandalisation of the cemetery.

Cindy Terblanche said: “My friend’s grave was also vandalised, and I am very upset about it. The best solution is to take your loved one’s ashes and keep it at home.”

Veronica F Boucher said: “This is heartbreaking and such a shame. They have no respect for the dead.”

DESPATCH CEMETERY: VANDALISM, THEFT

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