Byo council pushes for cremation


BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) councillors have proposed incentives as part of measures to boost the uptake of cremation in Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

Bulawayo City Hall

Cremation is the disposal of a dead person’s body by burning it to ashes usually after a funeral ceremony.

Debating the issue at a full council meeting early this week, councillors proposed introducing incentives to promote cremation given the very limited burial space in the city.

Ward four councillor Silas Chigora raised concern over the low uptake of cremation compared to people who opt for traditional burial methods.

“On average, the local authority buries 400 people per month compared to an average of 15 people that are cremated. The figures are always constant. We must incentivise cremation or revise the cost of cremation. If we don’t, residents will continue burying and the council will constantly run out of space,” Chigora said.

According to the latest council minutes, five cremations were done in January while 435 individuals were buried at council’s seven cemeteries.

Ward one councillor Mlandu Ncube also spoke in favour of offering incentives to people who opt for cremation.

“As the BCC, we need more land to build industries and decent housing. This is where council generates revenue through rate payers. Financially, we are not realising any meaningful revenue from burials,” Ncube said.

He also called for an upward review of the cost of burial space to force people to adopt cremation which other councillors quickly shot down saying it will create conflict between council and residents.

Ward 13 councillor Frank Javangwe noted that implementation of devolution will go a long way in availing more land that could be used for burial.

“The issue of devolution is costing us because it is stifling the city’s growth. The implementation of devolution will see the city expanding to a 40km radius. This will enable us to have enough burial space.

“It is now very expensive to bury relatives in our rural homes. It is high time the central government through the minister pushed for devolution implementation to allow us to have space for burial,” Javangwe said.

Bulawayo is also in the process of completing the required infrastructure at the two newly-gazetted cemeteries at Marvel Township and in Pumula South. The cemeteries have a capacity of 40 000 graves each and are likely to solve burial space problems for the near future.

The country’s second largest city has seven cemetery sites, namely Old Luveve, Luveve Extension, Luveve 3, Hyde Park, West Park, Lady Stanley and Athlone Avenue.

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