Emfuleni cemeteries are home to stalwarts, heroes and heroines, the pioneers and forgotten stars of our municipality.
To this day, hundreds of residents still visit our cemeteries to reconnect with late loved ones buried in our graveyards. More importantly, bereaved families still rely on our municipality for burial space to lay their loved ones to rest in our active cemeteries, which are reaching their full capacity.
We have acquired land to address this challenge and in the near future, we will announce new burial spaces for our communities. To ensure our cemeteries remain dignified spaces for our people, we have started a long-term project to upgrade them, with work already underway and at an advanced stage to refurbish the Evaton Cemetery. Next in line for development are the Vanderbijlpark, Tshepiso, Nanescol and Rus-ter-Vaal cemeteries through the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
The Evaton Cemetery is one of the oldest and biggest cemeteries in the Emfuleni Local Municipality. Construction is underway to build roads, install street lights and state of the art landscaping at the historic gravesite. The cemetery is home to 39 heroes and heroines who were mowed down by killers whilst attending the night vigil of slain ANC political activist Christopher Nangalembe in Sebokeng Zone 7 in 1991. Popular Orlando Pirates Number One Supporter Nale “Mzion” Mofokeng and ANC stalwart Levai Mbatha are some of the trailblazers buried at the Evaton Cemetery.
Cemeteries, like parks also need regular maintenance by municipal staffers who use vehicles, tools and consumables to carry out their duties. Developing our cemeteries will mean nothing if we cannot maintain these upgrades. This means the municipality’s Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Library Information Services, Parks and Cemeteries Department will have to commit financial resources for the upkeep of cemeteries, active and inactive. For this to happen in a seamless manner, the municipality must be in a possession to budget for the aforesaid maintenance costs. This means residents must improve payment rates for municipal services to allow the municipality to operate at full capacity.
By Wandisile Kunene