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The Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture wants to offer discounts to people who bury their loved ones during the week and penalise those who cause delays at cemeteries.
“It currently costs R3 000 for a weekend burial and we want to give people who do their burials during the week a 50 percent discount… that’s a R1 500 difference,” department head Thembinkosi Ngcobo, said on Thursday.
He said the department was looking at ways to save on the millions of rand spent every year on overtime.
With a greater demand for weekend burials, cemetery staff worked seven days a week, and on all public holidays.
The department has proposed a R1 000 penalty for people who turned up late for burials – this also forced the city to pay extra in overtime.
These proposals are part of an ambitious R70 million plan that includes the building of two new crematoriums in Durban townships, as well as new cemeteries in the city’s north and south regions.
said the council had already approved a R2m, two-year programme to educate officials, community leaders and residents about alternatives to burial.
The proposals come in the wake of two years of heated discussions and debates with residents, many of whom have been at loggerheads with the municipality since officials announced their solution to the grave shortage – recycled graves.
With 20 000 burials every year, Ngcobo had announced in 2010 that grave space would be non-existent within three years, and suggested, among other things, that graves be dug up and the remains buried in smaller graves.
Ngcobo was confident that residents would be more receptive to options other than burial by the time the programme ended.
“The grave shortage is not a crisis that we are going to face in the near future,” he said. “We are in that crisis right now.” - Daily News