City to fix grave sites

2020-01-29 15:00
Mountain Rise cemetery: due to the enormous demands made on burial space in the city, the situation has reached crisis proportions and there is an urgent need for space to bury the dead.

Mountain Rise cemetery: due to the enormous demands made on burial space in the city, the situation has reached crisis proportions and there is an urgent need for space to bury the dead. (Ian Carbutt)

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The Msunduzi Municipality is finally looking at tackling the neglect and overgrowth at city cemeteries.

The City on Tuesday said Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla had conducted an oversight visit to Mountain Rise cemetery accompanied by MEC for Finance, Ravi Pillay, and City speaker Eunice Majola.

The Witness has recently reported about the state of the cemeteries, in particular the overgrowth and litter, much of which covers graves themselves.

There have also been several reports of cremation chambers at Mountain Rise Cemetery breaking down.

The mayor said the oversight gave him “invaluable insight” into the work that needs to be done to restore the cemetery to its former glory.

“As the political leadership of the municipality, we then tasked our officials with devising a turnaround plan,” Thebolla said in a statement.

“We are happy to report that the plan is already being implemented and has started bearing fruit.”

These successes include the buying of 50 grass cutters to clear the overgrowth at all cemeteries across the city.

The challenge over grass cutting has been the result of theft of equipment, Thebolla said.

Non-collection of litter at Mountain Rise cemetery has been addressed, and collections are now being done on a regular basis, he said.

Regarding the crematorium chambers themselves, the mayor said two cremators now have a good supply of gas to keep them going.

“Steps have been taken to ensure that the interruption of gas supply is prevented from occurring in future.”

The equipment at the crematorium is to be upgraded in the 2020/2021 financial year.

“In the meantime, the business unit is going to solicit funds from the operational budget to undertake urgent repairs and maintenance.”

Thebolla said during the repairs and maintenance one of the cremators will be decommissioned while the others will be in operation.

The City will put out the word about one cremator being down.

The Mountain Rise cemetery guard house, based at Lahore Road, could also see a revamp, and the City is busy assessing the cost and extent of work that needs to be done on it.

The mayor added that there was an overall long-term plan to gradually replace cremation chambers at the cemetery over the next few years, and they will also secure additional burial space in the city.

Some sites being considered are Hollingwood, eThembeni and Lamontsvale.

“We are working around the clock to ensure that service delivery challenges, especially those that impair people’s dignity and rights, are addressed swiftly.

“We will be keeping the public informed of all the developments as we strive to ensure that the people of Msunduzi receive all appeal services timeously.

“We hope for public support in these endeavours,” Thebolla said. 

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg  |  graves
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