Sandra Cyster at the grave of her father and a couple unknown to the family at Eersterust Cemetery. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye
Sandra Cyster at the grave of her father and a couple unknown to the family at Eersterust Cemetery. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Tshwane family shocked at strangers buried on top of father's grave

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Mar 30, 2021

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Pretoria - An Eersterust family have been struggling for three years to reunite their parents in death after discovering that another couple had been buried on top of their father’s grave without their knowledge.

The family said they were shocked and angry to find out that they would not be able to fulfil their mother’s dying wish to be buried with her husband at the Eersterust Cemetery.

Daughter Sandra Cyster said they made the horror discovery about the grave site three years ago after their mother died.

Cyster said when her father died in July 1980, her mother told the children she wanted to remain close to him and, in fact, wanted her body laid to rest beside his.

However, she said, when they were making preparations, they were informed that they could no longer do so as two other people ‒ not related to the family ‒ had already been placed with their father.

“They told us we could not do anything as two people were now there and they had even already put up a tombstone. They told us there was no space for our mother and we had to go to a cemetery in Pretoria East, but we refused because this is not what she (our mother) wanted.”

Cyster said the family fought back and were eventually allocated another site close to their father’s grave, even though they were not satisfied with this arrangement.

They eventually opted to bury their mother a few metres away and ended up interring their youngest brother with their mother when he recently died of Covid-19 complications.

“We still want that grave because as a family we were hoping to put up a tombstone; we were simply waiting for my mother to pass on first. Even now we can’t put it up or do anything because of this other family in there as well, so how do we remember our family?”

Cyster said what was most frustrating about the whole ordeal was that none of the City of Tshwane officials could explain how this happened, or why.

She said the only thing they kept telling the family was that if they were to remove the bodies it would cause a problem for them as the other family had already put up a tombstone and might even go to the extent of suing them.

“I just don’t understand how they can end up suing us for taking over our grave site. We wanted to let things be, but this is not sitting right with us. This has to be fixed by someone.

“It’s only me and my sister left, and we’re getting fed up as we almost lost her too after she contracted Covid-19 recently; all we want is to know who is going to fix this because we want our family united.” The City said yesterday it would respond to queries on the matter as soon as the relevant department had explained what had transpired.

Patriotic Alliance Tshwane leader and local resident Virginia Keppler said it was shameless what the City had done to the family. Worse still, it had ignored their pleas to fix this for three years.

“This matter speaks of total disrespect for both the dead and the family left behind. This situation was caused by the City and the party will not rest until the City resolves it and does the right thing for this family.”

Pretoria News

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