City and CRL Commission reach consensus on burial practises

PHOTO: Redhill Cemetery.
PHOTO: Redhill Cemetery.

THE municipality and the Cultural, Religious and Linguistics Rights (CRL) Commission have reached a consensus on the city’s burial practices.

The commission was arguing that practises such as the re-use of graves are discriminatory against people who have not erected tombstones on their loved ones’ grave sites. Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said they are guided by the KZN Cemeteries and Crematoria Act No.12 of 1996 which makes provision for unleased graves to be re-used 10 years after the interment of a body.

“During the re-use of grave sites, remains are treated with the utmost dignity and not disposed in an inhumane manner. To avoid people of different cultural and religious backgrounds being buried in the same grave, the Municipality encourages the burial of people of the same family in one grave,” she said.

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She added that they are however in the process of ammending the laws to suit all citizens.

“We intended to adopt a policy decision that would allow families who cannot afford to renew their leases after 10 years to come forward. After a thorough assessment, they will be given amnesty to continue leasing the gravesite without paying,” added Gumede.

She also said that in future the municipality would use the services of a tracing agent. The core function of the tracing agent would be to locate all people whose lease agreements are coming to an end and consult with them adequately before tempering with the grave site.

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CRL Commission chairperson, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva expressed her gratitude at the commitment shown by the City to respect and preserve people’s cultural and religious beliefs.

“We have been discussing this matter with the City for close to 10 years and finally I am happy that we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It is also important for us to educate our communities about the importance of looking after their loved ones’ grave sites. Graves form part of our history and heritage.It is therefore important for us to preserve and maintain them so our future generations will know where their ancestors are laid to rest,” she said.

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  AUTHOR
Nomfundo Mlaba

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