Among the final resting places of loved ones at Khayelitsha cemetery are piles of garbage.
And recently, the Vanyaza family found out that their loved ones’ graves had been destroyed and covered in trash.
“This shows how vile some people can be,” Zuko Vanyaza told Vukani.
“This is disrespectful to the dead. We normally say, this is the final resting peace but I doubt if these people are at peace here,” he lamented.
Mr Vanyaza said upon visiting the graves of his parents and his sister, he had been shocked to see the state of the cemetery.
He said when he got to her sister’s grave, it was worse. “We fenced it but this has been transformed into a recycling site, dumping site and a place to smoke tik and ganja. You see people lying on top of graves,” he said.
His wish is for the government to fence the cemetery and employ security guards.
“It looks like there is ongoing vandalism in these sacred places. The only thing that can help is to fence them and have people looking after it,” he said.
Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chairman Ndithini Tyhido also said the forum was concerned about the state of Khayelitsha and he agreed that the cemetery was in a “very bad state”.
“We insist that they should be a strong fence, but that is not enough. This needs some education. We need to educate those who live close to them about the importance of cemeteries and what they mean. They should know that it is a sacred place where you can’t just go smoke and do dirty things. As a community we must take full responsibility for educating others,” he said.
Zahid Badroodien, the City’s mayoral committee member for community service and health said it was a challenge to fence the cemetery at Khayelitsha because of ongoing vandalism and theft of both concrete and palisade fencing.
However, he said, the City was investigating how to best address this scourge to find a sustainable solution.
“Illegal dumping is another occurring challenge at the cemetery and other areas of the city. Various City departments are dealing with this challenge on a daily basis. The Recreation and Parks Department employs Expanded Public Works Programme workers to pick litter, sweep hard surfaces and weed the cemetery,” he said.
Mr Badroodien urged residents to assist the City by reporting vandalism or any form of destruction of council property by calling 021 480 7700 from cellphone and 107 from a landline.