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eThekwini encourages citizens to consider cremation amid limited burial space

The National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa said the city needed 15,000 more gravesites by September amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Picture: EWN

DURBAN - The eThekwini Municipality on Thursday said that it was running against time to find burial sites for its residents and it was now encouraging citizens to consider cremation for their deceased loved ones.

The National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa said that the city needed 15,000 more gravesites by September amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

There are now fears that the city would not be able to cope with a dramatic increase in the number of deaths.

Officials said of the city’s 65 cemeteries, only nine were still active.

eThekwini is the epicentre of the coronavirus in KwaZulu-Natal, accounting for over 60% of cases in the province.
eThekwini spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said that four of the nine remaining cemeteries would be utilised to their full capacity by the end of this year.

“This is a serious problem that requires both the city and its stakeholders to work together to come up with solutions to this problem. But, we are very grateful to announce that we are in the process of acquiring land in the northern parts of the city and the south so that we can use that land for burial purposes,” he said.

Mayisela said that while the city was in the process of acquiring more land for crematoriums and burial sites, the municipality was encouraged that many residents were now considering cremation and appealed to others to do the same.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.