Gauteng health dept explains comments about 1.5 million graves ahead of Covid-19 spike

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  • Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku said more than 1.5 million grave sites were being prepared in the province.
  • The Gauteng Department of Health has since said the number refers to the collective capacity all municipalities in the province can take.
  • Masuku visited a cemetery, north of Pretoria, to oversee the state of readiness of cemeteries if needed during the coronavirus pandemic.


The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has moved to explain Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku's comments on over 1.5 million grave sites being prepared.

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On Wednesday, Masuku said more than 1.5 million grave sites were being prepared.

His remarks were made as Covid-19 cases in Gauteng have been increasing sharply.

On Thursday, in a statement, the department said it wanted to clarify the confusion about the number of graves dug for expected Covid-19 deaths.

"The province does not have over a million already open dug graves, the over a million graves refers to the collective capacity municipalities can take," the statement read.

News24 previously reported that Masuku visited the Honingnestkrans cemetery, north of Pretoria, on Wednesday, to assess the state of readiness should the burial site be needed.

The Honingnestkrans cemetery has space for 24 000 single graves on the 30 hectare plot of land.

"The GDoH is continuing to improve and increase both the infrastructure and human resource capacity of the health system to deal with the increasing pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic," the statement read.

"We understand that the subject of death is an uncomfortable matter to engage in, however, ensuring that there is adequate burial space in the province, unfortunately, forms part of the reality government must contend with in the battle against Covid-19."

This is a developing story. More information to follow.

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