The devil’s fork and palisade fencing surrounding the graves were stolen while a section of the roof of the storeroom was also ripped off its hinges.
THE JEWISH section at West End Cemetery has been vandalised where the devil’s fork and palisade fencing surrounding the graves were stolen while a section of the roof of the storeroom was also ripped off its hinges.
The caretaker Booi Roman De Voss stated that he was in possession of several name boards that were stolen from the public section of West End cemetery that were discarded in the Jewish graveyard.
“The metal attachments were broken off and sold. It is heartbreaking because the families of the deceased now have no way of identifying where their loved ones are buried. At least two of the name boards belong to the graves of a child and woman who were recently buried.”
He indicated that the estimated damages as a result of theft and vandalism amounted to around R15,000.
“The water basins, taps and live cables were ripped out. The steel poles to secure the devils fork fencing had to be replaced and I put barbed wire over areas where criminals can possibly enter the grave site by jumping over the fence or climbing through gaps in the fence. I had to cement the paving after the bricks were stolen. Brooms, spades and mops were also stolen from the storeroom.”
De Voss believed that the lack of access control at the cemetery was resulting in higher incidences of crime.
“There is no security on site and the cemetery is accessible to anyone at any time of the day or night. Criminals are using this opportunity to strip the graves and sell anything they can for scrap metal. It does not even help to call the police.”
He added that he had organised a security guard to be stationed at the site on a 24 hour basis to prevent incidents of theft.
“The other day I chased after a thief who was carrying a spanner and hammer that he was using to hack off the metal pieces. He was hiding among the trees and managed to get away. We have had to trim the trees and bushes to eliminate any hiding places. Fires were also set alight in the graveyard but luckily the tombstones were not damaged.”
De Voss said the bricks at one of the entrances were carried away after a vehicle crashed into the wall.
Sol Plaatje municipality did not respond to media enquiries.