Ethekwini: R3.5m Mobeni Heights Cremator installed
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Durban - THE eThekwini Municipality has assured residents that the R3.5 million cremator bought for the Mobeni Heights Crematorium has been installed.
This was amid doubts from an undertakers’ association and some funeral parlours as well as concerned residents, who also made the call to have the facility handed over by the city to be run privately.
For years the facility has been dysfunctional, at one point only operating with one furnace, and for the past three to four years the crematorium has not been working.
Ahmed Paruk, vice-chairperson of the KZN Undertakers’ Association, said in September when they marched about this issue that the city’s Parks and Recreation head Thembinkosi Ngcobo said the cremator would be installed.
“It’s high time Parks and Recreation started shooting straight and tell us what is going on or privatise Mobeni and let us deal with it that way. The situation is so sad for grieving families, as Clare Estate Crematorium is forced to have cremations at 3am due to the work load, what an inconvenience for families.”
Rajesh Maharaj, owner of Thekwini Funeral Centre, said to date the city had always defaulted.
“We have been told that the furnace had been installed and they would get it up and running. To date nothing has changed, with us in the midst of the pandemic and only having the Clare Estate, Verulam and Mzinto crematoriums available. My understanding is that there are issues with installing this furnace at Mobeni.
“They must start privatising the cemeteries and this crematorium and let the community run it. A very good example of this was in 2001, when the Islamic Burial Counsel took over the Muslim section of the cemetery.”
Rohit Brijlall, a Mariannhill resident, said drastic measures were needed as many promises had been made in the past with no results.
Crossmoor resident Daniel Reddy echoed Paruk’s and Maharaj’s sentiments.
“Clare Estate is hardly out of order because it's privately run. If all undertakers in Chatsworth rally together, they could run the facility more efficiently.”
Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela assured residents that the cremator that arrived in February last year from the US was installed.
“There are no issues in the installation of the machine,” he said.
Responding to the suggestion to have the facility privately run, he said the municipality had a gazetted mandate to deliver burial and cremation services to its residents, particularly to the poorest of the poor.
“Therefore, the city has no intention to abdicate such responsibility. As a caring and liveable city, the city will continue to render such services,” he said.
Mayisela on Tuesday said refurbishment of the facility was completed last year, with air emissions testing undertaken in November 2020 by a main contractor and their engineering department.
The city is awaiting an Air Emissions Licence from the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Enivironmental Affairs following an application it made in December.