Weekend Post (South Africa)
Multimillion-rand cemetery restoration
AFTER years of neglect, the Kabah cemetery at KwaLanga township in Uitenhage has received a R7-million revamp.
Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani this week officially opened the spruced-up cemetery, where the municipality has so far spent R3.5-million on fencing, R2.5-million on tarring of roads, and R350 000 on an office block.
When all the work is done, the cemetery will also have flower beds, benches and trees.
Bobani said previously there had only been a container which served as the administration office.
The cemetery had also become an illegal dumping site, a grazing area and a hideout for criminals and vagrants.
KwaLanga resident Namhla Constance, 36, said she was happy about the revamp as they would no longer have to worry about their relatives’ tombstones having to be fixed.
“We had a problem of tombstones that needed fixing because of cattle that were grazing there.”
However, others had mixed feelings about the revamp.
Nicholas Malgas, 50, said it was unbelievable that the municipality had spent R7-million.
“They could not have spent R7-million on fencing and the road. It is a good thing that the cemetery has been revamped but the money spent is too much.”
Bobani said residents had been complaining about the cemetery for a long time.
“It was no longer safe for families to visit the graves of their loved ones as they were scared of being the victims of crime,” he said.
“We first decided to fence the cemetery to improve security and guard against ille- gal dumping. There were also people burying their loved ones unofficially – but now that there is security, people can’t do as they please.
“Our next move will be to plant trees and beautify this area,” Bobani said.
“We will do the same thing in cemeteries around Nelson Mandela Bay. We already started with the Matanzima cemetery last year.
“We have realised that there is a need for a new cemetery in Colchester, something that will also receive our attention.
“For now, we appeal to our communities to keep this place clean.”