THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is set to part way with over R1 million to secure the release of a cremator impounded by the South African Revenue Services (Sars) in 2016 while on its way from Japan.
Sars impounded the cremator citing improper import documentation, which has seen the equipment accruing R1 078 532 in storage costs, with BCC recently resolving to pay the fees.
“The town clerk (Christopher Dube) reported that the council had resolved that it had taken over the contract for procurement and delivery of cremator which had been stuck in Durban (South Africa) due to importation challenges.
“The matter had been pending in court in order to discharge the rule nisi (a court order that will come into force at a future date unless a particular condition is met).
“The rule nisi had since been discharged after a very long time and the cremator had accumulated a huge storage bill,” part of a latest council report reads.
The report also revealed that Sars had written to council advising of the new storage bill and that it will continue to increase in case of further delay.
“This left council with only two options either to pay the storage costs and have the cremator released as soon as possible or to abandon and lose both the cremator and the deposit of US$97 120 which was paid,” the report further said.
The city has only one cremator at West Park cemetery.
There has been a low uptake of cremation, despite the local authority encouraging residents to consider the practice as a substitute to conventional burial, as a way of easing pressure on the limited burial space in the city.
Council at some point mulled introducing mandatory cremations for children under 12 years.
On average, the monthly rate of cremation stands at 12, with the majority being Hindu members, who culturally and religiously believe in the practice