Homeless people sleep with the dead

By Doreen Mokgolo

Residents in Ekurhuleni visiting the graves of their loved ones at Mooifontein cemetery over the Easter weekend were shocked to find them vandalised, surrounded by piles of rubbish and even used as shelters by the homeless. 

Lethabo Nkhumishe said he was heartbroken to find his uncle’s roofed tombstone was now being slept in by a homeless person. 

“It was clear that someone was living there. It even had curtains and bags of clothes. Are people no longer fearing and respecting the dead? I fear one day we will wake up to shacks being built on the site,” he said.

Many cemeteries in the metro are unprotected as they no longer have security fences.

Visitors to Mooifontein cemetery told Scrolla.Africa they struggled to find the graves of their loved ones because of the long grass.

On Saturday, after hearing complaints, one of the municipal workers allegedly set fire to clear the long, dry grass to help residents find the graves of their loved ones.

Resident Phindi Masuku said in the past the metro had dispatched security officers and workers responsible for maintenance to the cemeteries.

“We pay for these services but in recent years the state of service delivery has deteriorated,” she said. 

Masuku said residents regularly complain about taps running dry, unplanned power cuts, uncollected rubbish and potholes. “No one seems to care about service delivery,” she said.

Metro spokesperson Zweli Dlami said the grass in cemeteries is being cut.

“Teams are currently busy on other sites and will soon move to Mooifontein Cemetery as well,” he said. “Funds permitting, we can look at the issues of perimeter fence and other municipal infrastructure there.” 

He said the community must stop vandalising graves and cemeteries. 

“People need to work together to ensure that our loved ones are resting in peace at all times.”

Pictured above: Mooifontein Cemetery set on fire.

Image source: Supplied 

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