Stellawood Cemetery undergoing refurbishment, no old graves being dug up
DURBAN – ETHEKWINI Municipality has confirmed that no graves have been dug up at the Stellawood Cemetery. Speaking to IOL, Msawakhe Mayisela, city spokesperson, said the cemetery is undergoing much-needed refurbishment.
He said the Stellawood Cemetery site is generally in poor condition structurally, geo-technically and topographically.
"It has a history of catastrophic stormwater failure caused in the main by erodible Berea Red sand which travels in the open channels and stormwater pipes eventually blocking them completely.
“Due to the resultant overland travel of water, the ground has not only scoured large cavities beneath concrete structures such as staircases but, in addition, the walking terraces have become soft underfoot making some areas unstable for pedestrians," Mayisela said.
He said trees have grown so large that their roots are damaging structures and overhead branches preventing sunlight falling on to vegetation beneath.
"The cumulative effect above has now led to a lack of appropriate vegetation on certain terraces and most embankments, thus exposing more of the erodible sand thereby further exacerbating the problem every time it rains.
“The plot now finds itself in a downward spiral of erosion and deterioration which cannot be left unabated and, if ignored, will not only be unsightly but will certainly also pose an injury risk to visitors," he said.
This project will see repairs and upgrades to stormwater repairs to open channels and structures as well as camera inspection and possible replacement of pipe sections where damage is discovered.
Mayisela said there will be compaction and re-shaping of embankments and terraces, lifting and aligning of headstones as well as horticulture involving the structured removal or replacement of certain plants and trees replanted as per Common Wealth Graves Commission (CWGC) standards.
He said following which, a CWCG-appointed contractor will be given intensive training to maintain the newly renovated site.
There is also a possibility of the inclusion of rainwater harvesting to provide irrigation to newly instated vegetation.
"The project will see the installation of directional signs from the gate to the commonwealth section grave site," he said.