Dumping blocks access to cemetery

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The gate at the South Park Cemetery that has become inaccessible due to illegal dumping. PHOTO: JUSTINE FORTUIN

South Park Cemetery is in the spotlight once again as it has become a nightmare for funeralgoers and funeral parlours to access the Cemetery. This is because the condition of the road that leads up to the Cemetery has become an illegal dumping site and piles of garbage is obstructing the flow of traffic.

A few reasons as to why people are dumping their garbage in the road, instead of driving less than 500 metres to the South Park Landfill site, were provided to Courant by residents, funeral parlour owners, as well as security personnel at the Cemetery. It is said that the road extension project underway in the South plays the biggest role, as well as the safety of those who go to the landfill, and the fact that officials at the landfill are instructing people to dump their garbage outside.

Waste being dumped out the South Park Cemetery. PHOTO: Justine Fortuin

“The graveyard does not look neat at all. The worst part is that even on the inside no maintenance is being done. The fact that the gate is closed due to the rubbish that is heaped up in front of, it is a nightmare for traffic,” said Keke Mabule, Director of The Will Funeral Service and Memorials. Mabule added that another problem was the closure of the road that leads to the dumping site. “Everyone is now using the same road to go to the cemetery as well as the dumping site. I’m suspecting that because they don’t have proper access to the site, they are now just dumping it in the road, and some even just dump their rubbish right at the start of the road.

According to Kgosi Goliath from Emmanuel Funeral Services, they have asked the people who dump their waste in the road why they do so, and the most common response is that it is not safe to go into the landfill site. “People tell us that they are scared of being robbed when they go there. We understand this, but we are struggling every weekend because people are just dumping their waste in the road. The one gate at the Cemetery is completely closed because of this. It takes more than 40 minutes just to enter or exit the Cemetery,” he said. Goliath added that this contributed to the funeral parlour running behind schedule, especially on Saturdays.

Frans Gebhardt, the owner of Martin’s Funerals, told Bloemfontein Courant that because the Cemetery is full, they only go there to erect tombstones. “It looks horrible and the fact that half of the road is covered in rubbish makes accessing the Cemetery very difficult.”

A resident from Fauna who went to dump garden and household waste at the landfill site recently, said they were instructed by an official to dump their waste outside the site. “My son and I drove up the road and the condition it was in really upset me. We got to the site and as we were about to dump our waste, an official came up to us and said we should not dump our waste there and that we should go outside. This was very confusing but we just continued to dump the waste inside the site.”

Manguang Metro Municipality spokesperson Qondile Khedama said the Municipality is aware of the illegal dumping that is happening at the South Park Cemetery and that they have plans in place to clean up the area. “We have passed on the issue of officials instructing members of the community to dump waste outside the landfill site to the Department of Waste Management and it will be dealt with. The Municipality is also actively educating members of the community about the importance of a clean environment and therefore we plead that members take hands with us when the clean-up campaign kicks off.”

Justine Fortuin

justine@mahareng.co.za