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Levy is for after-hour burials, says Moslem Cemetery Board

A green sign on a wall gives the operating hours of a cemetery.

The Mowbray Muslim Cemetery is open until 4.30pm and a R500 levy is charged for burials that take place after this time. File photo: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 13, 2021


Cape Town – An Islamic cemetery board has confirmed that a levy will be charged for after-hour burials.

This comes after a video went viral on social media, showing men at the Mowbray Muslim Cemetery in Cape Town paying for entrance to bury their loved one.

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In the video, men in Muslim attire can be seen standing at a locked gate, handing over money through the bars of the gate to the man while a voice states it costs R500 for every hour the janaza (funeral) is late at its gravesite.

After the money is handed over, the video shows the caretaker unlocking the gate. The man states that the money is a penalty fee paid for late-coming.

Numerous complaints were made to the Moslem Cemetery Board in Cape Town by residents who saw the video.

However, in a virtual statement, secretary of the board Fazloodien Abrahams said this fee was communicated to undertakers in November last year and stipulates that the levy pertains to janazas that take place after operating hours, which end at 4.30pm.

Secretary of the Moslem Cemetery Board Fazloodien Abrahams says a notice was sent out in November 2020 to undertakers. Photo: Facebook

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He said he had sent a letter, dated November 30, 2020, to various undertakers clearly stipulating the reason for the R500 penalty.

“The purpose of the R500 is for the purpose of recovery costs of the cemetery for payment of additional petrol, labour, overtime labour, electricity for janazas that rock up after hours.

“The staff have to stay until the janaza leaves, clean up their tools, their protective gear and lock up the office, which can take another hour or two, and staff have to be dropped at home.”

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When the letter was sent out there were no objections or concerns raised to this particular amount, Abrahams said.

Chairperson of the Moslem Cemetery Board Faizel Sayed said that should families not be able to afford the R500 late fee, they will not be turned away.

Sayed stated the man at the gate in the video is his father.

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“He is 75 years old and is now volunteering at the cemetery,” he said.

Addressing this issue in a virtual statement, second deputy president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) Shaykh Riad Fataar said the council will be meeting with the cemetery board, but wanted to emphasise that the late fee would only apply to janazas after 4.30pm and no extra cost needs to be paid during the working hours at the cemetery.

African News Agency (ANA)

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