Cemeteries, once places of dignity and respect for the departed, are now marred by vandalism and neglect. The Mooifontein Cemetery has recently suffered a wave of vandalism, with over 40 tombstones vandalised, prompting concern and action.
Upon visiting the cemetery, the Kempton Express team and community activist Lorraine Porter discovered that the problem extended beyond vandalism. The facility’s overall maintenance had deteriorated significantly, leading to widespread degradation.
A substantial portion of the palisade fencing encircling the cemetery had either been damaged or stolen, rendering it porous and allowing unrestricted access. This lack of fencing has transformed the cemetery into a thoroughfare for passersby, exacerbating vandalism.
Furthermore, the absence of protective fencing around the graves has likely contributed to the damage inflicted on tombstones. Ornaments and sentimental items placed to beautify graves have also fallen victim to vandalism.
Lamenting the state of the cemetery, Porter expressed her disillusionment, saying, “I thought Zuurfontein Cemetery was bad, but the state of Mooifontein Cemetery is shocking and disheartening.” She urged the municipality to address this crisis before the entire cemetery suffered further vandalism.
The state of cemeteries in Ekurhuleni has raised questions about the allocation of funds for their maintenance despite an amended budget by the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) for such facilities. Security concerns at Mooifontein and other cemeteries have also come to the forefront.
At present, the Kempton Express observed that only two security guards oversee the entire cemetery during the day, increasing to four at night. One of the guards, Moses Thobejane, called for more officers to combat criminal activities, as drug addicts often occupy the cemetery and have vandalised its facilities, including toilets.
In response to the situation, officials from the CoE condemned the recent vandalism of grave sites at Mooifontein Cemetery, which was described as “sad” by CoE spokesperson Zweli Dlamini. He called on the community to show respect for cemeteries as sacred spaces where the departed should rest in peace. The CoE pledged to investigate and enhance security measures in response to these distressing incidents.
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Photo: Supplied by the Kempton Express