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

  • 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.

LIVE | All the latest coronavirus and lockdown updates

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.

Stay healthy and entertained during the national lockdown. Sign up for our Lockdown Living newsletter. Sign up and manage your newsletters in the new News24 app by clicking on the Profile tab

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Are you going to keep wearing a mask following the announcement that it is no longer required under law?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No ways, I'm done
42% - 4439 votes
Yes, I still want to be cautious
21% - 2267 votes
Only certain circumstances
37% - 3969 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.