By Staff Reporter
Burial space in one of Bulawayo’s busiest council cemeteries, West Park, is fast running out with the local authority exploring new burial sites.
According to the latest health, housing and education committee report, Director of Health Services Dr Zanele Hwalima noted that there were mulling the expansion of the grave site.
The local authority has 7 cemeteries namely West Park, Old Luveve, Luveve 3, Luveve Extension, Hyde Park, Lady Stanley and Athlone Avenue.
“The Director of Health Services reported on the 5th November 2014 that burial space was fast running out at West Park cemetery. As at the end of October 2014 there was burial space available for about 800 graves which would last at most three (3) months.
“For the above reason Council was intending to move burials to the only remaining available space at the cemetery. This was the space between the cemetery offices and the crematorium car park. It was currently being used by destitute for horticultural purposes.
In October 387 people were buried in these cemeteries.
In June last year, the local authority announced plans to set up a new cemetery in Pumula South to meet the ever increasing demand for burial space with the population in the city experiencing exponential growth.
“It should, however, be noted that there was an urgent need of a cemetery site, and there would still be need to identify more cemetery sites even when this site comes on board,” part of the report reads.
“Due to an urgent need, the department has seen it fit to demarcate a cemetery site on a piece of land adjacent to the portion of Lot 27A that was subject to land exchange so as to avert a crisis situation,” read the council report then.
If established, the cemetery is expected to service the city for almost 28 years.
The council has also suggested offering free cremation services to the residents to cut down the demand on burial space.
The idea has always been met with resistance from conservative residents who believe burning bodies is against their cultural beliefs.