By SILAS NKALA
BODIES repatriated from South Africa are topping the list of burials at most Bulawayo cemeteries, with council expressing concern that residents were not adhering to the 30 stipulated numbers of people allowed per burial, council minutes show.
Zimbabwe in general, and Bulawayo in particular, has been recording an influx of bodies transported into the country, with most of them taken for burial in rural areas.
However, according to latest council minutes, health services director Edwin Sibanda reported that Bulawayo’s cemeteries had recorded high numbers of burials of bodies repatriated from South Africa.
“The director of health services reported that Athlone West Cemetery recorded burials from outside the city as follows, South Africa (11), Botswana (2), Harare (1) and Umguza (2). Luveve Cemetery recorded bodies from outside the city as follows; South Africa (10), Binga (1), Gokwe (1), Lupane (1), Plumtree (1) and Umguza (3),” the minutes read in part.
Councillors also expressed concern at the politicisation of funerals to exceed 30 people, the maximum number of people allowed in the cemetery per burial.
“Most residents used their political affiliation as an excuse. Councillors were concerned about the manner in which staff at cemeteries conducted themselves. There was a need to train staff with regards to public relations,” the minutes read.
Deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said it was difficult to regulate the numbers attending funerals as that was against traditional norms.
“Residents should be encouraged to stick to the stipulated numbers of mourners who attend burial at the cemetery. It was also prudent to observe other stipulated COVID-19 regulations. The stipulated 30 mourners at the cemetery should be adhered to. This is applicable to all residents,” councillors said.
Town clerk Christopher Dube encouraged councillors to engage with residents regarding the new normal.
The minutes further state that the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services which was requested to carry out maintenance work at the cemeteries continued with a splendid job at West Park Cemetery despite uncontrolled fires which have destroyed and defaced several grave works.
The council also stated that a total of 11 cremations — seven males and four females — were carried out during the month of June.