“The state of our cemeteries in Mangaung is something we all should be ashamed of. Our cemeteries, where we send our loved ones to their final resting place, have been neglected and ignored by our municipality.” This is according to DA councillor Mokgadi Kganakga.
She said the Municipality is paying a security service to guard the cemeteries, but what the citizens get are idlers and tombstone theft. She says that she has taken the issue to the Metro countless times, but without any response. The city’s cemeteries have been in the spotlight for many years, for all the wrong reasons, and the issue has raised its head again with many residents complaining about the overall lack of maintenance of graves.
On Bloemfontein Courant’s visit to the city cemeteries, the security guards on duty at the Heidedal cemetery explained that they feel unsafe working there because of the overgrown vegetation, which makes it easy for people to hide there. They have also been robbed of all their belongings. One of them said that their Wendy house was broken into the night before. They report these incidents but nothing is done about it.
Kganakga said that in February this year the HOD/acting city manager promised to deploy a team specifically to the Heidedal/Grassland cemetery, but it did not happen. “Early March the Head of Department also alluded to the fact that workers were cleaning the cemeteries, but that has not happened yet. We only see them surrounding the City Hall and the Bram Fischer Building.”
A resident from Uitsig, who spoke to Courant on condition of anonymity, said that because of the long grass and garbage at the cemetery in General de Wet, they were struggling with rats and snakes at their homes.
“We are afraid to cut on our side now after we found a snake in our yard because we don’t know what else could have come out of the cemetery.” The resident further explained that the refuse was sometimes fetched a week late, which was problematic for them.
Bloemfontein Courant approached the Manguang Metro Municipality for comment, but had not received any feedback by the time of print.