Dismay over vandalism and neglect at city graveyard

2019-08-21 15:30
MAIN and INSET: Vandalism has seen large sections of the fence taken away.PHOTO: Palesa Mkhize

MAIN and INSET: Vandalism has seen large sections of the fence taken away.PHOTO: Palesa Mkhize

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Driving on Chief Albert Luthuli Street past the historic cemeteries, one sees that vandalism and lack of maintenance has run down the heritage site.

The graveyard was divided into religious sections to serve the main communities of the time. On the one side of the road are the mainly English churches’ graves, and on the other, the Afrikaans and Presbyterian churches’ graves.

In a previous article, The Witness reported that vandals were leaping over the fence to access the graveyard, but the vandalism has become so bad that large sections of the palisade fencing have now been taken.

The fence was originally financed by a special fund from the Pietermaritzburg Genealogical Society. It was also reported that the graveyard had been used by satanists for their rituals and that vagrants would hang their washing on the headstones after cleaning their clothes in the nearby river.

Frequently vagrants can be seen taking a nap in the little building with fallen trees, litter and knee-high grass around them. Young people have also been taking pictures at the cemetery to post on social media.

John Deare, a member of the Pietermaritzburg Genealogical Society, said they are disturbed by the lack of interest and attention to the cemeteries by the City. “For many years we have raised the issue with them and apart from brief meetings, nothing has been done to improve the situation,” said Deare.

One of the affected ward councillors, Manqoba Ngubo, said it’s difficult for him to say anything around service delivery right now. “It’s clear for everybody to see that things are in shambles in Msunduzi,” said Ngubo. He explained that administrator Sibusiso Sithole presented a report and they are now waiting for the City’s turnaround plan, which will show the way forward.

Unhappy members of the Genealogical Society say they have had to take overseas visitors to burial sites of family members at the neglected cemetery.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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