Family left to dig grave themselves

2012-02-15 10:52

Pretoria - A grieving woman is upset with the Tshwane metro, after the grave she ordered for her mother was left partially dug, and funeral-goers had to dig the rest of the grave themselves.

When the family arrived at the Silverton cemetery in the east of Pretoria for the funeral of Tina Coetsee, 73, on February 2, they found a shallow grave “barely knee deep”.

Coetsee’s daughter, Elize du Plessis, said they were shocked. “It is such a sad day and then to have to deal with this trauma was very difficult.”


Du Plessis said she made arrangements with the Tshwane metro for the grave on January 28.

Funeral goers had to roll up their sleeves and dig the grave themselves.

The deceased’s children, grandchildren, friends and two employees of the undertakers, Avbob, lent a helping hand.

"The Tshwane metro was conspicuous in its absence and there has still been no explanation to date.”

Du Plessis said the incident painted a picture of a metro with no compassion for residents.


The Tshwane metro said it was sorry for the pain caused by the incident.

Tshwane spokesperson Dikeledi Phiri said the city used contractors to dig graves in all its cemeteries.

"The contractor who had to dig this grave couldn’t finish it in time.”

Phiri said the contractor had been informed in writing that he had not delivered the service as agreed, and was ordered to send a written letter to Coetsee’s next of kin to apologise for the inconvenience.

Du Plessis would be compensated for what she paid for the grave.

  • Snoopsy - 2012-02-15 11:02

    Geen respek nie, nie eers vir die dooies nie. Ek hoop die Tannie spook by julle.

      Gustav - 2012-02-15 11:15

      Ja nee kyk, ek wonder met wie sy gepraat het by tshwane metro....

      Willie - 2012-02-15 11:37

      terminate the contract

      Janice - 2012-02-15 11:48

      That is simply unacceptable!!!!!

      Peter - 2012-02-15 12:00

      its absolutely terrible... despicable :( I think they should look for the guy behind a tree in the bushes...with his pants half way down one cheek, and chewing on some grass...possibly asleep maybe. Be careful when you wake him though...they dont like to be reprimanded for doing their personal doings during business hours.

      Fredster - 2012-02-15 12:53

      Name and shame... for what its worth in SA

  • rheinhardt.peens - 2012-02-15 11:05


      Makatikamusona - 2012-02-15 15:30

      Typically on the photo taking white guys seems very busy, but guess what a black guy with a cap got to do some dirty job. Their white shirt looks very clean by the way

  • Mhlophe - 2012-02-15 11:08

    Absolutely disgusting! We respect our dead.

      Marion - 2012-02-15 13:34

      I agree Mhlophe. Something else that I find totally disgusting is the way corpses are being piled up all over the place in some morgues. Beyond belief.

  • Josh - 2012-02-15 11:09

    it's like one big metaphor for this country it seems....

      Josh - 2012-02-15 11:47

      Lucky they didn't find the guys who were digging having a sleep in the grave. Also seems to be a trend these days...

      PB - 2012-02-16 08:31

      The latest local community newspaper (Rekord) has an article about this :- The family went to the Silverton graveyard the day before the funeral to see where the grave was and to make sure that it would be ready. There were 2 'workers' - the one was digging and the other one was leaning against a tree watching him. They did however promise that the grave would be ready. The contractor = Kallie Modzana replied to the journalist "Ek is 'n besigheidsman, ek kry kontrakte van die metro. Vir wat wil julle by my weet wat gebeur het? Dit is die grawer se skuld, ek het ook regte." No Sh+t Sherlock.

  • ashini.ishwarlall - 2012-02-15 11:14

    why couldn't he finish the job of digging the grave.What nonsense , a funeral is were you are doing your final rites/rituals/goodbyes to a loved one not where u would expect added trauma to the bereaved family.

  • Annelise - 2012-02-15 11:15

    They seem very good at digging graves for the economy, yet when it is time for a real one (grave) they seem sadly lacking!

      Snoopsy - 2012-02-15 13:05

      Good one!

  • braamc - 2012-02-15 11:16

    Like everything else, pathetic

  • clivegoss - 2012-02-15 11:29

    DO YOU DIG DIGGING ? No I do not. Maybe we are becoming like the old western movies. You dig your own grave. Question is when do you start? Whatever the council is called these days in the old Pretoria, they are dead in the water and disgusting to boot(replace water with ^%^%$)

      Heiku - 2012-02-15 11:54

      As soon as possible.

  • lindz.kok - 2012-02-15 11:39

    south africa (cANCer) bet you if this is investigated all fingers would point to tswane metro. my heart goes out the the family who had to endure the incompotance of our goverment.

  • eradingoana - 2012-02-15 11:56

    That is a huge embarassment and compensation will not reverse the pain. They knew that the grave was not yet finished, why didn't they informed the family of their poor service. They want the contractor to send a letter to the family so that they can still keep him because of corruption. Someone is gaining a lot from that useless contractor and he would not be fired. Sorry for the Coetzee family.

  • Donald Rapotu - 2012-02-15 11:57

    "compensated for what she paid for" better..

  • Mzwandile - 2012-02-15 12:06

    I don't know why everything should be outsourced. The contractor must be fired and the municipality must employ people to do this function.

      Bones - 2012-02-15 13:28

      Outsourcing creates backhands for the officials. Still dont know why we call them officials when they are so stupidly useless.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-15 12:20

    Unacceptable, but then the unacceptable seems to be the new accepted standard in the ANC run country. I suppose the contractor couldn't finish in time because of the effects of apartheid.

  • Phumlani Melusi Mtshali - 2012-02-15 12:42

    Where I come from municipality digs about a 1/4 and family digs the rest by itself. Why outsource everything?

      Garth - 2012-02-15 13:11

      There always has to be one; doesn't there just?

      Marion - 2012-02-15 13:38

      Phumlani... that is disgusting... the municipality should dig the graves. It is not the responsibility of those who are grieving. And I don't care if the logic is that the graves are supposedly cheaper if the family digs the rest themselves. Death should not be such a money-making racket!!

      PB - 2012-02-16 08:23

      Phumlani - where you come from, I guess a fully dug grave is not a service offered AND PAID FOR.

  • Clive - 2012-02-15 12:47

    Which party "runs" the Tshwane metro? Say no more!

  • Marion - 2012-02-15 13:31

    This is b****y disgusting!! Sue Tshwane Metro for your pain and suffering. Must have been extremely traumatic for everyone.

  • Franklin - 2012-02-15 13:41

    Wog stuff

  • Dave - 2012-02-15 15:00

    Name & shame the contractor, and the Tshwane official who appointed the contractor.

  • Brett - 2012-02-15 15:04

    Contract. A polite term for tender.

  • Jayne - 2012-02-15 15:33

    I say this with all the respect in the world for different beliefs and cultures, I do wonder however when we are all going to realise that we no longer have space for graveyards and that we should conserve that space and rather opt for cremation. I certainly don't want my family to feel guilty if they don't visit enough or have to move away. I now climb under my desk to protect myself from the barrage(sp) of all those who are offended - non intended.

      Spotty - 2012-02-16 16:19

      Plenty of space available. So much space that they have to put fences around the graveyards, because people are dying to get in.

  • andre.huskisson - 2012-02-15 16:33

    Die woord "SORRY" het baie goedkoop geword en word dus gebruik wanneer Dienslewering nie bestaan nie. Hoekom word daar nie SORRY gesê voordat die diensnie gelwer word nie.

  • Rhoda Kadalie - 2013-04-06 18:58

    Elke publieke diens is in sy glorie! Contractors is n eufemisme vir nepotisme!

  • pages:
  • 1