Ceme­ter­ies in BCM of se­ri­ous con­cern

EL pub­lic de­mand an­swers on ne­glect

Go! & Express - - Front Page - QHAMANI LINGANI

THE East Lon­don pub­lic are out­raged and are de­mand­ing an­swers from Buf­falo City Metro (BCM) as to why the city’s ceme­ter­ies are in the state they’re in.

Many of the city’s ceme­ter­ies are of se­ri­ous con­cern to res­i­dents who say they can’t see loved ones’ graves be­cause of the un­kempt state, with over­grown and un­cut grass and weeds.

On the Crime Spot­ter Buf­falo City page on Face­book last week, BCM res­i­dents ranted at the state of the rest­ing places, men­tion­ing in par­tic­u­lar the state of the Buf­falo Flats Ceme­tery.

One of the peo­ple who com­mented on the post also men­tioned Cam­bridge Ceme­tery.

The GO! de­cided to take a first-hand look at the sit­u­a­tion and vis­ited both ceme­ter­ies, as well as the Haven Hills Ceme­tery last week to con­firm com­plaints. At all of the grave­yards it was dif­fi­cult to see some of the graves as it seemed as if the grass has not been cut in a very long time.

Esme Nuller, 70, has been vis­it­ing her hus­band’s grave once a month for the past three years. She com­plained it was get­ting dif­fi­cult to get to the grave as she feared that she might slip and fall.

“His grave is one of the last lot [to­wards the bot­tom of a slope], so I can’t go down there. I went there at the be­gin­ning of this month and it is ter­ri­ble and dev­as­tat­ing.

“Grave­yards are meant for the late to rest in peace. How can they rest in that state? I have re­ported this to BCM, but no one has done any­thing. Other fam­i­lies are also com­plain­ing about this. BCM also said you can’t get a gar­den ser­vice be­cause it is mu­nic­i­pal land. What are we sup­posed to do then?” Nuller asked.

East Lon­don-born Anthony Marais asked a friend to put flow­ers on his mother’s grave but the now-Cape Town res­i­dent was ap­palled by the pho­tos his friend sent him.

Af­ter post­ing the pho­tos on Face­book, he said: “I asked some­one to put flow­ers on my mother’s grave on Mother’s Day and these pics were sent to me of the Buf­falo Flats Ceme­tery. I was shocked when I saw this. Can some­one please tell me why the ceme­tery is in such a bad state? One can’t even see the graves.”

One of the com­ments to this was: “East Ceme­tery is just as bad and it’s scary to go there as there’s al­ways some­one com­ing out of the bushes. You’ve got to keep look­ing around for safety over your shoul­ders.”

In the past, there have even been re­ports of peo­ple be­ing mugged at the city’s ceme­ter­ies, with rob­bers hid­ing in the over­grown grass and bushes.

BCM spokesman Sibusiso Cindi said a turn­around strat­egy to ad­dress the is­sues that af­fect BCM ceme­ter­ies had been adopted. Within this strat­egy, the city adopted the Wed­nes­day of each week to pull all its re­sources and deal with one ceme­tery at a time.

“This is ev­i­dent if one vis­its the East Ceme­tery [op­po­site Buf­falo Park Cricket Sta­dium] and sees the work that is cur­rently be­ing un­der­taken. The rea­son why Wed­nes­days has been set aside, is to ad­dress back­logs through­out the city,” Cindi said.

Ther­essa Klaasen wrote: “Buf­falo Flats Ceme­tery looks like a bush and not a ceme­tery. I am so dis­gusted with the way the grave­yard looks. I was there yes­ter­day and just when I wanted to take a pic­ture of the guys lay­ing on the grass, they jumped up and walked the other way.”

Cindi also men­tioned that some of the key chal­lenges the city was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing were short­ages of equip­ment, staff and bud­getary con­straints. How­ever, Buf­falo Flats Ceme­tery is part of the turn­around strat­egy the city has adopted.

Cindi said: “The in­ten­tion is that all of the ceme­ter­ies must be brought up to stan­dard or an ac­cept­able level and to en­sure that se­cu­rity is pro­vided.”

Pic­tures: SUP­PLIED

NO RE­SPECT: The state of Buf­falo City’s ceme­ter­ies has again come un­der the spot­light as res­i­dents have taken to Face­book groups to ex­press their dis­may. These pic­tures taken on one of the bet­ter sides of the Cam­bridge Ceme­tery, show how weeds are grow­ing over the graves

UN­KEMPT: These pic­tures of the Buf­falo Flats Ceme­tery were posted by an­gry for­mer East Lon­don res­i­dents who tried to visit their par­ents’ grave.

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