The South African Cemeteries Association (SACA) says citizens need to be introduced to alternative burial options.
Chairman of the association Pepe Dass says it’s an uncomfortable conversation we need to have, as eThekwini is among the cities facing chronic burial space shortages.
eThekwini recently hosted a Pan African Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference at the Durban ICC, where the matter was debated.
ECR Newswatch reported that the municipality said, although it is not sustainable to buy new land, cultural and religious beliefs require them to do so. Read here: eThekwini exploring options for more burial space
However, Dass says although some people may be opposed to other burial options for cultural and religious reasons, government can’t keep buying land for graves.
“We should start talking about these issues. There has to be an acceptance that there is this challenge in front of us. It’s not just talk but it’s reality that everyone of us has a responsibility to recognise this and everyone of us has the ability to contribute in someway.”
“Merely by even thinking about it and deciding ‘Well look if this is a challenge how can I contribute, how can I make it easier?’ Because, you are not necessarily making it easier for yourself, you are making it easier for generations to come,” he said.
The SA Cemeteries Association says the public needs to be introduced to alternatives to burial. Courtesy of #DSTV403
JOHANNESBURG – The SA Cemeteries Association has reiterated its statement that the public needs to be introduced to alternatives to burial.
Municipalities are fast running out of burial space.
READ: Durban’s grave shortage
The association said, however, that local government is not telling people about this.
Its chairperson, Pepe Dass said on Thursday, running out of space for people to be buried is a global problem.
“We’re all going to die sometime, and this is probably in the next 60-80 years, we’re going to have to look for 57-million graves,” Dass explained.
He said, “in order to cope with this, we have to tell people there is a problem and that we have to change the ways we normally practice the way we lay our loved ones to rest.”
Dass said the easiest and best response for South Africans at the moment is cremation.
Durban – The shortage of burial space in cities is a global issue.
Durban has recently announced that the city would run out of burial space by next year. Therefore there is a need to create more awareness about alternative burials for loved ones.
This was said during the recent second Pan African Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference in Durban.
It brought together experts from around the world to address the shortage of burial spaces globally.
According to the chairperson of the South African Cemeteries Association, Pepe Dass, while some municipalities were trying to address the issue, very little was being done to effectively reach people to communicate the challenges cities were facing in obtaining land for burials.
He said an alternative to single grave burials was an undeniable must.
Dass, who spoke at the conference, said burials were not sustainable.
According to the municipality, Durban has 65 cemeteries containing 550 000 graves and each grave site holds an average of three bodies – amounting to 1.6 million graves.
Most cemeteries in Durban are filled to capacity with less than 5000 unused graves remaining.
By the end of January next year, the city will have run out of burial space.
For this reason, Dass said there needed to be a campaign aimed at spreading awareness for the consideration of alternatives to burials.
This needed to take place at schools and universities, he said.
“Most countries in Europe and Asia are cremating as they have made a conscious choice to move to this practice due to challenges for land and to ensure a sustainable environment. Prices for graves are expensive and will continually increase,” he said.
Dass said the fastest move to cremation would come from minority groups who were already accepting it.
“The facilities to cater for this movement are inadequate. Metros must look at increasing the development of these facilities immediately by zoning land and investing, researching and procuring the best equipment,” he said.
Dass said a trend was starting to emerge where some black South Africans were beginning to understand the real challenges.
“It is my belief that this group will expand very quickly in the near future, thus further increasing the need for well-designed crematoria facilities,” he said.
However, the cultural significance of burials could not be underestimated, according to another speaker at the conference, Dr Thuli Mphambukeli.
Mphambukeli, a senior lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, said there were cultural beliefs associated with the visiting of loved ones’ graves, and many people still felt a connection to their deceased loved ones.
According to cultural and language expert Professor Sihawukele Ngubane, some people view cremation as a curse and an insult to the dead.
“Once a person dies he or she occupies the highest rank on the ancestral list and becomes a provider for the living.
“At the burial site if a man of the house dies, he is given seeds and spears with the belief that he will look after the house and bring luck. The idea of cremation among Zulu people is very unpopular for the reason that once the body is cremated it will need cleansing in order to be accepted in the afterlife,” he said.
Ngubane said that Zulus believed in life after death.
“Death is viewed as the beginning of a new person’s deeper relationship with all of creation and the start of ancestral life.
“As a result, any person who dies must be afforded a proper funeral, and in the view of the Zulu people it is a burial.
“It is also believed that if you fail to do so the dead person may become a ghost and a danger to those who are left behind,” he said.
Ngubane said many people believed that once a person was cremated, they lost their dignity and certain rituals would not be observed.
There were rituals that took place at the grave that were respected by different religions, and it was left to the family to pay their last respects to their loved ones.
“When you put sand into the grave it is the time for closure. One may also keep in mind that in African culture we share grief and therefore the community wants to support the bereaved family to the last ritual.
“The perception is that these rituals are not considered and the community do not form part of the departing soul. In order to change the perception among Zulu people, people should be allowed to choose the way they wish to be buried. It should be left to the individual to decide while he or she is alive,” he said.
Ngubane said the other option was to allow people to go to their rural homes for burials, and those who could not afford that should find a space or a farm somewhere outside the city for burial purposes.
“Recycling of graves is also not acceptable but people do compromise if people belonging to the same family are buried together.
“It is my view that a space outside the urban area should be identified so that we can find a resting place for our loved ones,” he said.
Source: The Mercury
Durban – The eThekwini Municipality is confident that the Mobeni Heights Crematorium will be up and running again by December.
Speaking during a media briefing at the 2nd Pan African Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference, parks, recreation and culture head Thembinkosi Ngcobo admitted the crematorium was not operational.
“I know that we have been promising that it would be ready. We previously said it would be ready in two months time but that was the information that I was given. The necessary equipment was on its way from the United States but it has not arrived. There have been so many complications. Maybe we should not be promising anymore,” he said.
Ngcobo said the non-operational crematorium was a serious issue.
EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said: “When the cremator arrives at the Durban port we will move with speed to have it installed. We are confident that the cremator will be operational before Christmas.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this is causing to our residents. We are appealing to them to bear with us and use other crematoriums.”
The furnace at the crematorium broke down in 2016 and again in 2018. The Clare Estate Crematorium has been accommodating cremations for families due to the furnace breakdown at Mobeni.
Source: The Mercury
eThekwini is looking into purchasing new land to try and address the shortage of burial space in the city.
The shortage of burial spaces in cities globally has come under the spotlight at the 2nd Pan African Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference taking place in Durban.
The municipality’s Head of Parks and Culture Unit, Thembinkosi Ngcobo says although it is not sustainable to buy new land, cultural and religious beliefs require them to do so.
He says they will also be educating communities about alternative burial methods.
“We are looking very closely into the experiences and practices of other cities — for instance we could establish mausoleums,” said Ngcobo.
A mausoleum is a type of grave site that can be used by more than one person.
“We would establish a grave site that would be shared by families that could be used by different generations. In this instance, we dig much deeper so that you do not have to wait for the 10-year cycle that is currently prescribed under South African law.”
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Ngcobo says they are also looking into the possibility of utilising the city’s coastline as a burial option.
“We could also consider deep sea burials, which are utilised in some other countries.”
Source: The Mercury