Eersterust cemetery. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Eersterust cemetery. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Tshwane to reopen grave of father buried with unknown couple

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Apr 1, 2021

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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has agreed to reopen the controversial grave in Eersterust and get to the bottom of claims that a father was buried there with an unknown couple instead of his wife as he had wished.

According the City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo, the grave will be opened on April 7.

Half of the puzzle – the Moore family – yesterday said they had nothing to do with the mix-up.

At the same time, Sandra Cyster told Pretoria News that for the past three years, they had been battling to get assistance to remove two bodies buried on top of their father, who died in July 1980.

The family said they were struggling to fulfil their mother’s dying wish to be buried with her husband, as the Moore couple was buried with their father without their knowledge.

Cyster said they made the discovery about the grave in 2018, when they wanted to reopen the grave and bury their mother.

“They told us we could not do anything as two people were already on top of him, and they had already even 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 (the mother) wanted.

She said they eventually opted to bury their mother a few meters away, and ended up putting their youngest brother with their mother when he died recently from Covid-19 complications.

Cyster said despite this they were still unhappy about the mix-up and wanted action taken.

“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 up or do anything because of this other family in there as well so how do we remember our family?”

A representative of the Moore family said they were deeply saddened and hurt by images of Cyster and news of their parents being buried on top of her father.

Eugene Moore said in fact it was the first time they had even heard of such an issue.

Moore said although the family was not based in Eersterust they had waited for a year after their father died before putting up a tombstone, and had been visiting the grave yearly with no indication of another person being buried there.

“The perception out in the community now is that we were part of this conspiracy when we know nothing about this at all.

“Our family is really well known in the community and all we want is for it to be known that this was not our fault.

“We also want to get an idea of who will be held responsible, who will pay for the exhumation, DNA tests and other things; and most importantly, what is to happen with our family members.”

City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the City’s records did indicate that indeed the father was buried in 1980 at the stipulated grave number and that the Cyster family had made a request to bury their mother alongside their father.

Mashigo said the request was granted as per the cemetery procedure.

He said the family refused to use the City’s recorded grave system to identify the grave.

They rather insisted that the grave of the Moore couple buried in 1980 and 1987 was that of their father’s.

According to Mashigo, this was despite their records showing that the Moore grave was not D470 where their father was buried.

“The matter has been receiving attention and it is confirmed that grave D470 is the correct Moore family grave as per cemetery records.

“Only Mr Denis Martin is buried in the grave.

“Following lengthy discussions between City officials and the family, it was agreed that the family could bury their mother in an alternative grave until the matter had been resolved.

“It has to be noted that there were other members of the Martin family who were in agreement with us that Grave D470 was the grave where their Mr Denis Martin was buried.”

Mashigo said the Moore family agreed to the identified grave as per their cemetery records, and to discuss the matter with the Cyster family to resolve the matter.

He said the City remained committed to assisting the family to bury their mother as per her last wish as long as a consensus could be reached.

Pretoria News

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