The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has suspended burials at Athlone cemetery after the excavator used digging graves broke down, sources have said.
Athlone cemetery is situated just after Northend Suburb in the east of Bulawayo, from the city centre.
Sources within the city council told Cite that due to the malfunction of the machine, burials would be conducted at Luveve cemetery.
Apparently, the excavator broke down as a result of numerous Covid-19 related burials that overwhelmed the city’s two cemeteries. Said a source:
Since Thursday, the city council has not been burying at Athlone cemetery because the grave digging machine has broken down.
All burials are now being conducted at Luveve cemetery.
Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni told CITE on Sunday that he had not been briefed about the matter adding that he will look into the matter.
Some bereaved families who had already booked burial space at Athlone cemetery bemoaned this development and said they felt short-changed by the local authority as a grave at Luveve is cheaper than at Athlone.
A grave booking at Athlone cost $US53 while space at Luveve cemetery is $US43. One source said:
We had booked graves at Athlone for relatives sometime before.
When we wanted to bury one of our relatives there, we were informed there were no ready graves because the grave digging machine broke down. That is unfair and the council should have stand-by grave digging machines so as to avoid inconveniencing its clients.
BCC health services director Edwin Sibanda recently told the city fathers that Bulawayo’s cemeteries had recorded high numbers of burials of bodies repatriated from South Africa and Botswana.