South Africa 3.3.2016 10:27 am

Grave concerns to be addressed

Workers removed everything from the graves except headstones. Photo: Ron sibiya

Workers removed everything from the graves except headstones. Photo: Ron sibiya

Emotions ran high last month after it came to light that heavy earth moving equipment was being used to prepare the areas between headstones for landscaping at the cemetery.

The Tshwane metro has called a meeting with residents following the outrage regarding work and maintenance being carried out at the Pretoria East Cemetery.

People affected by work carried out at the Pretoria East Cemetery will have an opportunity to raise their concerns directly with the Tshwane metro at a public meeting, Rekord East reported

Metro spokesman Selby Bokaba this week invited affected residents to a meeting with the City to discuss the ongoing upgrades as well as their concerns around the developments at the cemetery.

The meeting takes place on today March at the Erasmuskloof Fire Station from 15.00 to 16.00.

Emotions ran high last month after it came to light that heavy earth moving equipment was being used to prepare the areas between headstones for landscaping at the cemetery.

Families and loved ones claimed that the metro’s contractors had shown no respect for the dead and had also caused damage to some graves.

It was also alleged that some grave markers were completely removed and that others had been replaced at the wrong graves.

The chaos at the cemetery prompted DA councillor Lex Middelberg to lay criminal charges against the city managers for the desecration of graves.

At the same time, the matter was also reported to the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission by Paula Theunissen, who told Rekord that her mother’s grave had been damaged by workers.

The metro was accused of having no respect for the graves and of completely disregarding the sanctity of the graves and the grave yard.

Tshwane defended its actions by denying any damage to tombstones and by stating that this graveyard was a berm category cemetery – allowing only head stones and no grave plots.

“We are simply carrying out our mandate to prepare the area between the head stones for the planting of lawn and other landscaping,” Bokaba said.

He urged residents to attend Thursday’s meeting in an attempt to settle the matter by addressing the concerns of affected parties.

The metro last month started cleaning and carrying out maintenance work at several cemeteries in the city, including at the Eersterust Cemetery.

Residents, who had been complaining about the state of grave yards in Pretoria, welcomed the work done in Eersterust.

Caxton News Service

 

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