Ventersdorp graves should be moved after flooding - Commission

2017-03-02 15:59
Ventersdorp municipal offices. (Susan Cilliers, Netwerk24)

Ventersdorp municipal offices. (Susan Cilliers, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The new Tlokwe/Ventersdorp municipality should move 47 graves to another site following flooding in 2016, a constitutional body has recommended.

A delegation representing the families should obtain a permit from the North West health MEC to exhume the bodies, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The municipality would have to pay for moving the graves and for the cultural rituals each family would have to perform, chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.

"Families need to weigh up their options. You might find that a lot of families don't want to move now since they are aware of the fact that the flooding was a once-off thing," she said.

A lawyer representing the municipality apologised for the delay and lack of information about the matter, which resulted in the families suffering even more emotional trauma.

One of the relatives said she was happy that the municipality was taking action, even though it had taken so long.

"I trust and believe that the promise made will be fulfilled this time as we have waited for a long time to be helped," said Francina Mathongwana.

The graves were flooded after a pipe burst in February 2016. Residents were led to believe that the area was a wetland. The municipality promised to move the remains, but nothing happened.

Pieter Labuschagne, manager of community services at the Ventersdorp local municipality, explained that the process was delayed by drawing up of budgets, local government elections, and the amalgamation of the Tlokwe and Ventersdorp municipalities.

"We promised our people that we would take them to an appropriate place. We cannot go back without delivering what we have promised them," said Khuduga Dibe, one of the representatives of the 47 families.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  floods

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