eThekwini Municipality is looking to secure burial land due to the escalation of Covid-19 deaths.
In a motion report submitted to the Durban full council, the city asked for authority to be allocated funds for the purchase of land and development of cemeteries.
“The committee considered the current Covid-19 pandemic, escalation of death and the need to speed up the process of securing land for burial purposes,” read the report.
eThekwini has been identified as one of the country’s coronavirus hotspots.
The motion was passed with an overwhelming majority with only the Economic Freedom Fighters abstaining.
“We agree on principle that the eThekwini Municipality needs burial land to give a dignified funeral to the people of Durban. But our position remains that we can’t be cowards and sell out on the issue of land. We believe that the municipality has plenty of land that we can use without paying for it. Expropriation of land must apply to this,” said Thami Xuma, EFF PR councillor.
The report states that the city will only consider expropriation when ‘deemed necessary’.
Last year the city warned residents of an impending burial crisis due to lack of land and went as far as asking residents to consider cremation as an alternative, which did not go down well with traditional and religious leaders.
According to the report, the city will also be looking to replace all crematoriums older than 15 years.
The head of the Parks, Recreation and Culture will also be engaging with parties interested in establishing privately owned and operated cemeteries.
Durban currently has 65 public cemeteries.
A feasibility study is underway to determine the financial implications of this motion.
This article first appeared on Berea Mail and has been republished with permission.