The burial space at the Johnston road cemetery in Athlone has reached capacity and there is no space for new bodies. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Vygieskraal Cemetery Board said in light of the increase in fatalities during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now filled to capacity and the public will be referred to other cemeteries.
However, speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Thursday morning, Chairman at Vygieskraal Cemetery, Abdullah Salie stated the grounds can accommodate the re-opening of family graves with the official consent of bona fide family members.
Salie detailed the list of procedures for re-opening an existing grave that would need to be adhered to:
-A family member needs to identify (with the necessary evidence and witnesses) where exactly the grave is located. They will need the full name, surname, ID number and date of death of the person whose grave is to be re-opened.
-A compulsory signed affidavit of consent needs to be presented and ratified by the Next of Kin of the deceased before a grave will be re-opened.
-An officially stamped copy of the DHA-1663 Form must be completed and presented together with a certified copy of deceased ID document by a registered Undertaker.
-The cost for re-opening an existing grave is R1 500
The City of Cape Town’s (COCT) Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, maintains that the city is available to lend assistance to privately owned Muslim cemeteries. The application for additional land has been a long drawn process for the Vygieskraal Cemetery Board. However, the city claims the ball lies in the board’s court to speed up the process.
Mayco member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien explained the city’s position in the matter.
“This is not a new conversation that the board has been having with the city and it is important to say that the city is not the driving role in the process. Johnstone road cemetery is a privately owned burial ground. The COCT has already given input into a potential extension into that land,” detailed Badroodien.
He added that an environmental assessment has already been completed.
“The city is available to assist the board as we have stipulated in the past both to the management of the cemetery as well as the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) through the process but it is definitely not a city led process,” continued Badroodien.
However, Salie has stated the cemetery board is dealing with the handover of new management but are currently consulting with a civil engineering company to ensure the land is demarcated and prepared for further burials in the coming months.
Official operating times are 8am –5pm from Mondays to Sundays.
Janaazas (funeral) outside these stipulated times will be accommodated only if arranged with the Cemetery Management at an additional cost.