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Cemetery opens after 10 years

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“The new Phutanang Cemetery is ready for burials and we have already had about eight burials on the weekend.”

THE CHALLENGE of burial space in Kimberley has been addressed after the Sol Plaatje Municipality opened the Phutanang Cemetery.

The cemetery, which after 10 years did not see a single grave dug, allegedly cost the city more than R50 million to develop.

The cemetery was invaded by land grabbers and close to a hundred illegal shacks were erected on the site.

The land occupants said that they had decided to occupy the land as it was “perfect for residential purposes” and it would make service delivery by the municipality easier as the land apparently has underground water.

The occupants reluctantly moved to Roodepan in November and December last year following a court order by the Northern Cape High Court instructing them to leave the land.

They later threatened the municipality that they would “reclaim” the land if burials did not start taking place.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that the cemetery was opened last week and that burials have been taking place.

“The new Phutanang Cemetery is ready for burials and we have already had about eight burials on the weekend.

“Due to a lack of burial space at our cemeteries, all burials will now take place at Phutanang, except for reopenings and for families that have previously reserved graves at other cemeteries, except for Kenilworth Cemetery.

“Phutanang Cemetery was previously ready for this objective but as a result of vandalism we had to suspend the planned burial activities.”

Matsie added that renovations will be conducted at the cemetery.

“The vandalised cemetery offices will be repaired and security measures will be implemented to prevent any future damages. We will be laying paving and renovating the office. We appeal to the general public to report suspicious activity, especially the vandalism of tombstones.

“We have had several discussions with undertakers and other role-players on future burials. Traffic direction boards will also be available to guide traffic towards the cemetery. Administrative bookings for the cemetery will also be handled by our offices at West End Cemetery,” said Matsie.