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Council turns down application to establish cemetery near airport

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has turned down an application to develop a private cemetery near Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport.

According to the latest town, lands and planning report, the  Town  Clerk, Christopher Dube reported  (13th  August 2021)  that an application dated  (7th  May  2021)  to establish a  cemetery had been received from Nondwene City (Pvt) Ltd.

“The application had been advertised and adjacent property owners notified.  No objections had been received.  It had also been circulated to municipal departments and no adverse comments had been received.  At the time of writing of the report, the cemetery had yet been established,” read the report.

Dube said the application was also circulated to the  Airports  Company of  Zimbabwe  (ACZ)  who objected to the application since the land in question was within the vicinity of the airport.

“In this zone land use is required to be limited to aviation-related business and/or  agricultural  business,” read the report.

They added that a  cemetery in this area would not be compatible with other recommended businesses and would not comply with business practices on developments around airports.  

“The  Airports  Company of  Zimbabwe, therefore,  has reservations on the establishment of the cemetery on this location.  Please ensure that any developments in this area comply with development control requirements as defined in the Civil  Aviation  Act chapter  13:16 and Civil  Aviation amendment act number 10  of  2018,” read the report.

Meanwhile, the  City’s health department had also advised that any land that had been utilised for cemetery purposes can only be used for other uses  (reclaimed)  after  150  years from the date of the last burial.

“As such the cemetery might not be in sync with such developments. The  land  in  question  might  also  be  required  for  the  future  expansion  of  the  airport,  of  which  if  it had  been  utilized  for  a  cemetery  it  could  not  be  then  reclaimed  immediately.  In  view  of  this  my department  did  not  support  the  application  for  the  establishment  of  a  cemetery  on  Lot  4  of Subdivision  A  of  Upper  Nondwene. “

The  Committee considered the matter and ward 13 Councillor  Frank Javangwe did not support the application saying private cemeteries were not prudent for the city.

” In some case, they were handed back to council with operational costs,” he said.

The  Acting  Director of  Town  Planning in response explained that the area fell in the concentric zones which were reserved for the  Airport expansion and the establishment  for  related  industries.

“The  City’s Health  Department had been advised that  land  used  for a  cemetery  could  only be utilized  for other purposes  after  a period of  100years  from  the date of  the  last  burial.  The land was owned by  Nondwene  City  (Pvt)  Ltd.  In terms of the local  Plan number  10, it was zoned residential,” read the report.

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