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Demand for burials, cremations increases in Cape metro as COVID numbers spike

The municipality has just over 40 cemeteries; many sites had already reached capacity before the pandemic and now others are also running out of space.

Maitland Cemetery in Cape Town where a section has been demarcated for COVID-19 deaths. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN – As health officials deal with the COVID-19 peak of the second wave, demand for burials and cremations are increasing in Cape Town.

The municipality has just over 40 cemeteries; many sites had already reached capacity before the pandemic and now others are also running out of space.

Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien on Monday said the entire burial value system was under immense pressure.

This includes undertakers and storage during the burial process.

“Through this, the city has been engaging with a number of undertakers that we are able to identify.”

He said a very popular community cemetery, Klip Road, was reaching capacity and was finding alternative space to avoid mass burials.

Badroodien said the number of COVID-19 burials had increased and they were seeing almost double the average number of burials per week.

A week ago, there were just over 500 burials about 20% of which were COVID-19 fatalities.

“At the moment, it doesn’t seem that there is any suggestion that the demand will be decreasing. Our appeal to residents is to please look after their health.”

Badroodien said they managed to expand six sites for graves.

They will also be opening another site in the Maitland Cemetery for 800 graves as the Muslim community has also been running short of burial space.

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