Councillors worry over congestion at cemeteries

Bulawayo residents have been urged to perform funeral services at home or churches as a way of decongesting cemetery sites.

Some mourners have opted to hold services by the graveside a situation the city fathers said often leads to congestion.  

Speaking during a full council meeting on Wednesday, ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora said funeral services performed at gravesites are the root cause of congestions.

“When residents come for booking, we make sure there is a time in between different funeral services.

“But as residents, we seem to not have identified the root cause of congestion, it is simply caused by those long services which are performed at cemetery sites,” Chigora said.

“There are pastors, politicians and other speakers who take time giving speeches at these funeral services, of which these are some of the programmes that take a lot of time hence have to be done at home or church.

“We are going to propose that services and speeches be done at church or home and residents only come to the cemetery to bury their deceased only. That is going to save people time because this is not the problem of councillors but mourners who overlap their given time.”

Ward 2 councillor Joyce Ndlovu concurred said the services held at the cemetery sites were causing noise pollution for residents who stay close to cemeteries.  

“There is a lot of congestion in these cemeteries, it then affects close by residents such as those who stay in Northend. But I realised that some of this congestion is perpetuated by the delay to dig up graves so you find that mourners have to wait for the grave to be dug while they are already at the gravesite,” Cllr Ndlovu said.

She said people should be given graves according to those available.

“If it is a shortage of main power, then I propose that people be given graves according to those available rather than for them to wait with the corpse while graves are being dug, it is just so inhuman.

Ward 13 councillor Frank Jabangwe suggested that mourners should be allocated different times to conduct their burials.

“You find three different funeral services in a row, that on its own causes congestion as others will be singing, others praying with others preaching, so that on its own causes congestion at these sites,” he said. 

Due to the high demand for burial space at the council-run cemeteries, there has been a suggestion by the local authorities for residents to consider cremation.

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