Durban facing burial space crisis

eNCA’s Dasen Thathiah filed this report from the Pan-African Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference in Durban. #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Durban is expected to have no new burial space by January.

This is by no means a new problem – and the city has had ample warning of the impending situation.

Cremation, grave recycling – or maybe mausoleums?

These are some of the suggestions for dealing with the critical shortage of burial space.

WATCH: Durban's grave shortage

eThekwini Deputy Mayor Belinda Scott says there has to be a political will to make this happen.

“We will ensure that this is prioritised. Until this matter is prioritised we will be sitting here in six months’ time with no solution to ... a very big problem. So you have my undertaking from the mayor’s office and you can hold me to account that this will be prioritised.”

Scott is hoping some concrete solutions will be found at the Pan-African Cemeteries and Crematoria conference.

A variety of alternatives are being touted.

Town Planner Johan Jonas says an above-ground installation is an option.

READ: Joburg running out of burial space

“The option that came up to look at accommodating these containers in an above-ground installation, typically a warehouse constructed and equipped with the necessary pipework where the containers can be accommodated for the duration of the period that it takes to fully decompose.”

But cultural and religious practices mean the eThekwini Municipality – like others facing a similar problem – will have to work hard to get public buy-in on some of the alternatives.

The Pan-African Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference in Durban continues until Wednesday.