High rainfall causes graves to collapse at Joburg cemetery

2018-03-23 19:17

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2018-03-23 14:37

A car became lodged in a sinkhole on Stephanus Schoeman Road in Pretoria after heavy rainfall hit Gauteng. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - Heavy rains in Johannesburg over the past two days have affected graves and headstones at the newly-launched Olifantsvlei Cemetery, the City of Johannesburg said on Friday.

Some graves and headstones have collapsed and memorials placed on graves have been washed away by the subsequent flooding in the area.

"In order to preserve the dignity of the dearly-departed residents of our city, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo will offer soil to families whose [loved one's] graves have been affected by the erosion caused by the rain, and will additionally refill the graves once the rain subsides," said councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba.

Initial reports indicated that burials that took place recently in the new section are the ones that have been severely impacted.

"I would like to appeal to families who have laid their loved ones to rest in the Olifantsvlei Cemetery, especially within the past three weeks, to go assess the damage and to contact the cemetery to assist where possible in reinstating graves," pleaded Sifumba.

PICTURES: Sinkholes, shacks damaged, as floods sweep through Gauteng

Sifumba also advised residents to postpone the erection of memorials or tombstones on graves until the "soil has subsided and firmed up".

"This reduces the risk of the memorials collapsing during acts of nature, such as heavy rains, which erode the soil that has not settled," she said.

Olifantsvlei Cemetery has conducted close to 9 000 burials to date, with an average of 120 burials per week. The cemetery is expected to accommodate a total of 800 000 burials.

The heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc on the roads and traffic in Johannesburg. 

Severe flooding was also reported on Witkoppen Road and Fourways Boulevard on Thursday night, which persisted into Friday morning.

Three lanes on the M1 North were closed after a tree fell on the highway in Klipspruit on Friday.

The rainy weather over Gauteng is expected to ease over the weekend.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  weather  |  flooding

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