Durban's grave shortage

Durban's housing backlog is well-known but it's not just the living who are struggling for space. Courtesy #DStv403

DURBAN - Durban is dealing with a grave situation as it is fast running out of burial space.

There is only 5,000 new sites that are left across the city. There is a critical shortage of sites in the 65 cemeteries citywide.

The eThekwini Municipality says it’s looking for permanent solutions, but needs buy-in from the public.

“We’ve been going to various communities especially black communities that do not use cremation and tell them about this method,” eThekwini Parks and Recreation head Thembinkosi Ngcobo.

“Some people have been warm but the majority not, for now.”

READ: Joburg running out of burial space

One pastor’s viewpoint is clear, Abraham Masinga from the Durban Worship Centre says a grave is a sacred place, and even recycling burial spaces – which the city is exploring – must be dealt with sensitively.

“Traditionally black people or African people have always believed that their loved ones are resting,” Masinga said. “Now for them to rest you need to lay a bed for them. The grave becomes the bed.”

The South African Cemeteries Association says a lack of burial space is a national problem that needs urgent attention.