Eugene Steenberg, 49, says the City of Cape Town flattened his daughter’s grave in a Kraafontein cemetry when a tractor drove over it. Picture: Solly Lottering
Eugene Steenberg, 49, says the City of Cape Town flattened his daughter’s grave in a Kraafontein cemetry when a tractor drove over it. Picture: Solly Lottering

Dad says city’s tractor drove over child’s grave, broke cross

By Mandilakhe Tshwete Time of article published Sep 25, 2020

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Cape Town – An angry father says he visited his daughter’s grave on her 21st birthday only to find it destroyed.

He says on Sunday when he visited the gravesite at Kraaifontein Cemetery, all he found were tyre marks and muddy water.

Eugene Steenberg, whose daughter Simoné McPherson died two years ago, says he hadn’t been to her grave since the beginning of lockdown.

“I went there with her mom and siblings, but when we got there, we just saw marks left by a tractor,” Eugene says.

“The cross that was on the grave was broken and on both sides of the grave were tyre marks.

“I am disgusted in the way the people at the cemetery have no respect for the dead.”

The Kraaifontein dad tells the Daily Voice their plan was to spend time at the graveside to commemorate what would have been his daughter’s 21st birthday.

“We wanted to tie the balloons we had on the cross.”

He says after he complained to the municipality, they promised to fix the site.

“They covered some part of the grave with ‘fresh’ sand and then put the small wooden part of the cross on the grave,” he adds. “We had to complain again.”

When the Daily Voice went to the Kraaifontein Cemetery on Wednesday, there was no cross.

But the manager Musa Rolomana says it was taken out so it could be fixed properly.

“It is not our responsibility to fix the cross, but we did. You have to understand that there are no proper paths for our digger loaders to access graves for reopening,” he said.

“We don’t have a choice, there is no other way of reaching graves, but to drive over others.”

He adds they would never destroy graves.

“The only reason we didn’t fix it was because we were still on lockdown, now that we are on Level 1 there will be proper staff to fix all the graves we drove over.”

But Eugene says this is not a good enough excuse: “I’m still grieving my daughter’s suicide, and to still get to her grave and find it flat hurt me a lot.”

Daily Voice

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