Burial space dispute brews in Mangaung as community clashes over grave sites


A dispute over burial grounds is brewing at the local cemetery in Bloemfontein where the Muslim community alleges their burial sites are being taken by a local funeral parlour.

The Muslim community alleges they have been using the site since the mid 1980’s before they ceded the section of the burial site to the Mangaung Metro Municipality. The community wants their burial site to be respected. They claim their site is now used for non-Muslim burials against their consent.

A Muslim community member Shafeeq Stewart says their graves are being walked over when other funerals are conducted. Stewart says this constitutes great disrespect to their religion and their dead.

“Whenever a funeral is being held by other funeral parlours they are walking over our graves and they show disrespect and if you can look at it there’s only certain funeral parlours not all of them its certain that funeral parlours that has got access to bury here,” Stewart explained.

Twilight Funeral Home has been fingered as one of the culprits. Director of Twilight Home funeral parlour, Vusimuzi Twayi Jr says graves are allocated to them by the municipality and they try as much as possible not to damage the tombstones that are already erected.

“Twilight Funeral Home is not the only undertaker that buries there, all other undertakers within the Bloemfontein community are allowed to bury at that section where in that area only a few graves are left. However it is such a small space that is left that it happens that we overlap with our carpets just for beautification purposes when we provide services for our bereaved families,” says Twayi.

The Mangaung metro municipality has appealed for cooperation between the Muslim community and funeral parlours. Spokesperson for Mangaung metro municipality is Qondile Khedama

“These cemeteries belongs to them, cooperate work with the municipality. Make sure that where you see damage you report it so that we can be able to attend to it. We have encouraged the Muslim community together with the funeral parlours or undertakers to work together. So that when there are issues we can only come in and advise. To date, this is the only a unique case we have encountered but generally undertakers the Muslim community work together, so we will encourage that they continue to do so,” Khedama explained.

The Muslim community says all they want is for the graves of their loved one’s respected.

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