Concern in Pietermaritzburg over removal of unpaid tombstones

A grave revelation that tombstones that have not been paid for is becoming a reality as the tombstones are being removed from the Mountain Rise cemetery.

This follows after the reported case of  widower Mxolisi Mvuyane, who discovered his wife’s tombstone had been removed, Public Eye reports.

Mvuyane has alleged, through his investigations, that the tombstone from the Mountain Rise cemetery in Pietermaritzburg was removed by undertakers.

READ MORE: Three suspects arrested for tombstone theft

Sipho Mthethwa, the owner of Kagiso Funeral Services, has however, denied these allegations.

“Mr Mvuyane has not fully paid for the R12 000 tombstone. This means that the tombstone does not belong to him and is still the funeral services tombstone slab. It does not make sense that I can steal or remove what is already mine,” he said.

Mthethwa said they have had problems with Mountain Rise Cemetery as Mvuyane’s tombstone is one of many that have been stolen.

“We have tried to communicate with the municipality regarding security but there has been no movement regarding this issue,” he said.

He added that the company has approached the elderly pensioner to pay R3 000, in an attempt to meet the company “halfway” in repayments to replace to replace the removed slab.

The Public Eye previously reported that after burying his wife in May last year, just weeks before their 30th wedding anniversary, 64-year-old Mvuyane found the granite slab on his wife’s tombstone missing.

Mvuyane said for the past two weeks he has visited the Mountain Rise Cemetery to get to the bottom of the missing tombstone. During his last visit he met with the manager of the cemetery who offered to assist Mvuyane and contacted Kagiso Funeral Services.

During the enquiry Mvuyane alleges the funeral service employees said tombstones that were in arrear payments were removed from the cemetery.

Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed this trend within municipal cemeteries. She said the municipality was aware of these allegations and is currently investigating the matter. “We are working on placing additional security at the cemetery but what must be noted is that when family members fail to pay the undertakers who erected the tombstones, they (undertakers) come back to remove it and there is nothing we can do about that,” said Mafumbatha.

Three suspects arrested for tombstone theft

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.


today in print