​As the issue of shortage of burial space in eThekwini remains a challenge, the Municipality has set aside approximately R216 million to procure three sites to be used for cemetery space. This was revealed at the hearing hosted by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) held today, 15 March 2018, at Protea Edward hotel in Durban.

The Municipality has identified suitable land in Vulamehlo, Cato Ridge and Hammarsdale for cemetery space and it is envisaged that with their capacity, the sites will last for atleast 50 years before they fill up. Two sites have been identified for crematoria in Phoenix and Umkhomazi.

Mayor Zandile Gumede said that the shortage of burial space in eThekwini was a serious challenge which the Municipality had been dealing with for years. “Migration to the city from rural areas and outside the country is increasing. This migration has led to over-crowding in urban areas,” said Gumede adding that the overcrowding then translated to more people being buried within the Municipality. Gumede added that the City was aware and respected the religious and cultural beliefs of residents who do not believe in alternative burial methods and this was the reason that the Municipality was trying its best to identify suitable land that could be used for cemeteries.

Mayor Gumede hopes that the addressing the land question will also assist in averting the situation. “We believe that expropriation of land without compensation will assist us in addressing these challenges of gravesites in the near future,’ said Gumede.
Speaking about the policy on the re-use of gravesites, the Chairperson of the CRL Rights Commission, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xalavu said that although she understood that shortage was a serious challenge facing the Municipality, but it was important to always put the rights of the citizens first, regardless of the class.
It was also noted that of the 65 existing cemeteries within the Municipal area, 54 had already reached their capacity. The hearing was postponed until 27 April 2018.
Issued by the Mayoral Spokesperson, Mthunzi Gumede, 071 412 7701