Tshwane grave desecration not over

Less than a month ago my colleague Cllr Lex Middelberg, laid criminal charges against the City of Tshwane for the destruction of more than 600 graves in the Pretoria East Cemetery.

Distressingly, after apologizing for the early February grave desecration at Pretoria East cemetery, Tshwane is again attempting to use heavy construction equipment to flatten the ground over graves, this time at the Zandfontein Cemetery.

The DA has, in our possession, a “media notice” issued by the City on 25 February 2015. In language that is eerily similar to the so called Pretoria East Cemetery community engagement, this notice states that the City wishes to inform members of the community of scheduled maintenance work that will commence on Tuesday, 8 March 2016. The notice continues to use the exact wording used during the Pretoria East Cemetery debacle when it states that “the work to be executed entails leveling of soil, installation of irrigation systems and grass planting.

Many families of buried deceased have not been informed of the proposed “maintenance” work as the City had not communicated with families again.

It is abundantly obvious from the work to be carried out, that it cannot be completed without substantial and in some cases irreparable damage to the graves. The previous incident of “maintenance” at the Pretoria East Cemetery led to the city’s workers obliterating graves, damaging numerous tombstones and actually destroying or removing some tombstones and shrines built and maintained by grieving city residents. In addition numerous grave markers of graves that had not yet had a tombstone erected were simply scraped away, leaving numerous graves totally unmarked and not unidentifiable by families.

Cemeteries are places of respect and it is the duty of the city protect and preserve the dignity of those who are vulnerable for reason of the feelings they experience when they visit the graves of their loved ones.

The City has previously violated the rights of families and the DA will move to press further criminal charges should grave desecration continue at the hands of the City of Tshwane.

The DA is committed to ensure fairness in Tshwane, by bringing change in this year’s election.


Solly Msimanga

DA Mayoral Candidate for Tshwane

083 612 0492