WATCH: Mobeni Heights crematorium opens
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Durban - Plans are afoot to get a new cremator into the Tongaat Crematorium to replace the old one.
This was as the Mobeni Heights Crematorium after years, opened its doors to the public who previously had to carry the extra cost of using a private crematorium.
On Monday the facility had already begun its order of business cremating bodies.
Maggie Govender, an ANC constituency MPL in Chatsworth, said their office had received many queries from the community about this facility.
"We have in the past raised the matter with the municipality and were told it would be opened in February. We have been pushing together with councillors in the city and within the Cogta portfolio committee to have this facility operating back to normal. Yesterday (Sunday) I confirmed with the deputy city manager for Community and Emergency Services, Dr Musa Gumede, who said the facility was functioning with people on site," she said.
She said when asked when the facility would be open for use to the public, Gumede told her it was open with three bookings already secured for yesterday.
"As a parliamentary constituency I am pleased to give the community some good news on this long-standing issue. There was a great need for this facility to be operational especially with Covid-19".
Ntokozo Sibiya, chairperson of the city's portfolio committee for Community and Emergency Services, confirmed that the Mobeni Heights Crematorium opened yesterday.
"We were there just before 10am and there was a body being cremated. The fixing of the second crematorium in Mobeni is also in the planning stage together with the one in Tongaat which will have a new machine since the one we currently have is old and due for a change."
Muzi Hlengwa, president of The National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (Nafupa SA), said the organisation welcomed “this long-awaited move” to finally have the crematorium opened adding that he hoped it would be maintained properly and as often as required to avoid a repeat of history.
"We are also hoping that there will be no corruption and that the community will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve going forward."
Hlengwa applauded the community, media and authorities who put pressure on the city by highlighting the need and urgency to have the facility reopened.
However when the Daily News visited the facility yesterday afternoon, it learnt that the machine which had been working and cremated bodies in the morning was no longer working.
For years, the facility has been dysfunctional at one point only operating with one furnace.
In February last year, a new cremator arrived from the US and had cost the city R3.5 million, however by September it had not been installed.
Last week, the city said refurbishment of the facility was completed last year with air emissions testing done in November and an application for an Air Emissions Licence from the Department of EDTEA was done in December.