Lack of grave-digging machinery cripples BCC service delivery

Lack of grave digging machinery has affected Bulawayo City Council service delivery at cemeteries.

According to the latest Council report, the local authority has only one JCB grave digger, which of late broke down resulting in the city fathers hiring of two machines to ensure that residents get services at grave sites.

The report highlights that due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 related deaths, the number of burials at cemeteries had significantly increased resulting in the council getting overwhelmed.

The lack of the machinery hindered the council from having reserved graves which in turn slowed down burial processes for residents.

“In the month of July 2021 burial figures in City’s cemeteries increased to 778 and the average deaths for day was 10,” says the report.

“Covid-19 victims were to be buried within 48 hours and this affected grave service delivery. Council had only one JCB Grave digger which was servicing the 2 cemeteries. The machine had broken down. 2 JCB Grave diggers were hired. Council was looking forward to reserve at least more than 700 graves.”

Statistics obtained from the report showed that Athlone West Cemetery recorded fourteen burials from South Africa, one from Botswana, two from Harare, one from Karoi and three from Umguza.

Luveve Cemetery also recorded fourteen from South Africa, three from Umguza, one from Botswana 1 and one from Beitbridge.

The local authority said two hundred and sixty nine (269) Covid-19 related deaths that occurred in the city in the month of July 2021 were all buried at local cemeteries.

“Ward 17 Councillor Sikhululekile Moyo said the staff at cemeteries was being overwhelmed by the number of burials per day. She suggested that more staff be recruited. Council should also have reserved graves at any given time,” the report reads.

The report adds: “Councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda raised concern about protective clothing for the cemetery staff. She also wanted to know when the council’s JCB Grave digger would be repaired. She also said cemeteries should have adequate security to enforce the 30 mourners per burial policy.”

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