A BULAWAYO councillor is calling on residents to either cremate or bury their loved ones at their rural homes, as burial space is fast-running out in the city.
Bulawayo is battling a shortage of burial space, with a council report revealing that West Park cemetery was likely to fill up by June 2018, as there were 1 040 graves left.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The health, housing and education committee report shows that city fathers, troubled over the lack of burial space, were suggesting forced cremations and other controversial burial space-saving plans.
“Councillor Lillian Mlilo felt that consideration should be made to cremate children below 12 years in an effort to save burial space. Councillor Lot Siziba noted that residents with rural homes should be buried there, while other residents should consider cremation,” the council report read.
“Councillor Monica Lubimbi enquired about double interments. She wanted to know how long it should take before a second interment was carried
“In her Ward 29, a resident passed on and when they opened the spouse’s grave after 20 years, the burial material was still intact — a traumatic experience for that family. Double interments in a grave not prepared for that was after 10 years. However, augmentations can be made at the first interment and graves would be made deeper and there will be no specific waiting period.”
Though council has been encouraging people to cremate their loved ones to save burial space, the report shows that there is a low response from residents to switch to cremation.
In a bid to find more burial space, city fathers were now negotiating with landowners for more land on which to establish new private graveyards.
At one time, councillors suggested taking bodies to the Local Government ministry in a bid to force it to gazette land for a new burial sites.
Council also once came up with a burial strategy comprising three approaches to save space — digging deep graves to allow for two or three burials, stopping the reservation of graves and asking owners of unused graves to sell them back to the council, and the reduction of cremation tariffs to less than half the price of a traditional burial.