ETHEKWINI Municipality has 8 000 new graves available to address the critical burial shortage in the City. The Municipality has around 65 cemeteries with 97 percent of them at full capacity.
Close to two thirds of cemeteries are no longer operational. This posed a challenge to the City who had to investigate solutions to ensure residents could bury their loved ones. Head of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit Thembinkosi Ngcobo said the Municipality took the decision six years ago to landscape Loon Road Cemetery. “This process means we exhume human remains in all gravesites that are ten years and older and take them and rebury them at a smaller scale cemetery where they will remain permanently,” he said.
The Municipality developed this method to make way for new grave sites. “Through this, families who want to visit the gravesites of their loved ones will be able to do so. They will have full control over the grave spaces and will be able to perform appropriate funeral rituals,” added Ngcobo. He said this action was necessitated by the high demand for burial space. To further meet this need, the City is developing a 30-year plan for the provision of burial services. “Land has been identified specifically for burial space, specialists are currently busy with the environmental impact assessment and geotechnical assessment to ascertain if the land is suitable for graveyards,” said Ngcobo.