Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Bulawayo running out of burial space

by Staff reporter
17 Dec 2022 at 12:19hrs | Views
IF you are in Bulawayo do you know where and how you want to be buried?

Be warned that there is a looming problem in the country's second largest city over what to do with dead bodies, as it is fast running out of burial space.

People seeking burial space could soon be turned away as the city is struggling with burial plots.

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is warning that if no action is taken to change how the dead are laid to rest, the local authority will soon run out of burial space.

As an alternative to burial the local authority is urging residents to opt for cremation and double interment, but the uptake has been low due to cultural and religious beliefs.

It is advising that a single grave should have more than one burial.

Cremation is a method of final disposition of a dead body through burning and is an alternative to burial.

The call for cremations comes amid revelations the city's two major cemeteries, West Park and Hyde Park, had filled up.

According to the latest council report the local authority has been trying to encourage residents to embrace cremation to save the available burial space for future developmental projects, but there have been few takers.

The latest council report shows that Bulawayo residents are still shunning cremation as there were only six cremations — four females and two males in November.

Some people frown upon cremation due to cultural, traditional or religious beliefs.

Others opposed to cremation believe a bodily form is required to reach the afterlife, not ashes (the fires of hell).

"(Ward 5) Councillor F. (Felix) Mhaka's view was that residents should embrace cremation. Cremation Service delivery should be opened to private entities. (Ward 17) Councillor S (Sikhululekile) Moyo noted that the death rate was very high and the demand for burial space was increasing. She supported cremation.

"She also inquired on the progress regarding Pumula South Cemetery. As a smart city there was a need to embrace other human body disposal methods and save land for future developmental projects.

"A single grave should have more than one burial. For effective cremation, private players should be involved," the minutes read in part.

The chairperson and Ward 10 Councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda said although it was difficult to encourage residents to embrace cremation she supported double-interment especially among married couples.

"There were a lot of improvements that needed to be done to make the cremation service delivery appear decent. Council should also acquire a new modern cremator soon.

"In response to the various concerns raised the senior Divisional Health Officer explained that double-interment was being encouraged. Couples were allowed to make necessary bookings.

"Where the booking had not been made the grave could not be re-opened for a period up to 10 years. High death rate had contributed to the maximisation of space in between graves at council cemeteries.

"Efforts were being made to encourage residents to embrace cremation. Most residents, especially Christians did not have a Biblical reference to cremation. There was low uptake of cremation worldwide," the report adds.

In November 2019, the local authority proposed mandatory cremation for people aged 25 and below as it grappled with a shortage of burial space in the city.

Source - B-Metro
More on: #Bulawayo, #Burial, #Space