Big grave clean-up

Breidbach Cemetery makeover begins after municipality intervenes

MOPPPING UP: Workers from Ginti CC clean up the area where palisade fencing will be installed at the old Breidbach Cemetery on Tuesday morning. Community members claim that people have been using the graveyard as an illegal dumpsite, while even tombstones have been vandalised and smashed. Community members however, have pleaded with residents to take pride in the cemetery following the latest developments Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

THE Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) has heeded the outcry and pleas of residents and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) to act on the poor state of the old Breidbach Cemetery.

Schornville’s Ginti Company was appointed to restore the graveyard, starting work on Tuesday to install palisade fencing around the perimeter in an effort to curb illegal dumping and vandalism.

Ginti supervisor Elvis Klein said they would also clean up the area along the boundary where palisade fencing would be erected.

“We are hoping to complete the job within a period of one month and locals are also employed to assist us,” Klein said.

The grave problem was highlighted in an article in a February 16 GO! & Express article: “Buried in rubbish: Residents demand graveyard be restored”.

BACK THEN: A photograph accompanying a February article in GO! highlighted the poor state of the old Breidbach Cemetery. Residents have expressed relief after work to restore the graveyard, including perimeter fencing, began last week Picture: FILE

In the article, residents even complained about tombstones being broken by vandals.

The poor state of the graveyard was brought to the attention of local Sanco members earlier this year, engaging with BCMM official Asanda Lali to get some clarity and answers to questions about cemetery conditions.

“We arranged the meeting and had discussions with Lali who promised us they would look into the matter and give us feedback after he had consulted with his superiors,” Sanca interim organiser Stacey Gosling said.

“So we are thrilled and overwhelmed that the matter has finally received attention.”

Her colleague Jenna Ohlson said she was pleading with the residents to take pride in the graveyard and to take ownership of it.

“I call on all residents and most especially those living close to the cemetery to stop dumping their garbage at the gravesites and be proud of the heritage site,” Ohlson said.

The GO! reporter visited families living close by to get their thoughts and comments about the project.

Breidbach Primary head Ivan Harry said he was confident that following the makeover in the area, residents would stop using the cemetery as a dump site.

“Our loved ones will from now onwards rest in dignity and I extend my sincere gratitude to our ward committee member Desmond Coetzee whom I reported the matter to, for his selfless passion towards fighting for our rights,” Harry said.

Daan Lottering, who lives only a few metres away from the cemetery, said: “I am ecstatic about the new developments taking place at the cemetery as it is long overdue … and I personally will make sure that I play my part in guarding it so that it stays clean.”

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