By Magreth Nunuhe WINDHOEK - Burial space has become a concern for the Windhoek Municipality and people may have to start looking for alternatives in future, like being buried on top of each other or being cremated as cemeteries are filling up fast. The municipality made this startling revelation this week and further disclosed cemetery regulations also make provision for graves older than 30 years to be reused by the same family members, should they make such a request. Across our borders, municipalities in South Africa are also battling with space for burial and in the City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, the dead will be laid to rest on top of each other and in mausoleums, while in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal there are plans to replace tombstones with ground stones and cremating all paupers. In Cape Town, burial options include reuse of graves, cremation and aboveground burials. But fortunately for us, unlike in South Africa where strangers can be buried on top of each other, family members of a deceased person must apply to the Windhoek Municipality for a second burial to take place on top of a grave that belongs to a departed family member. Lydia Amutenya, the spokesperson of the Windhoek Municipality said the municipality is also in the process of purchasing a second furnace and will start promoting cremations. “The city is currently not forcing anybody to do anything against their cultural beliefs, but it makes cremation and second burials in one grave as additional options,” she said, responding to some rejections that have been raised due to religious or cultural beliefs. The municipality says that it has been inundated with queries about burial sites, with concerns raised since the municipality announced recently that the Khomasdal Cemetery has reached its full capacity. The cemetery, which was developed in 1965 has around 6 750 adult graves and 3 500 children buried in it. Future burials can only take place in graves that have been reserved as well as those designed to accommodate two bodies. The Oponganda Cemetery, which is one of seven operational cemeteries in the city is also full and is currently being extended so that the second part is ready by end of December this year. The cemetery was opened in May 2001 and currently 4 500 adults and 6 900 children are buried there. Gammams Cemetery, which started operating in 1926, has approximately five years before it reaches its full capacity, while the Old Location Cemetery can only accommodate burials of persons who were born in Windhoek in 1959 or earlier. The municipality further disclosed future plans to build cemeteries in Rocky Crest and Otjomuise next year and added that the prices of graves could go up, not because of scarcity, but because of the cost involved in the digging.
New Era Reporter
2014-12-18 08:06:11 4 years ago