Byo decommissions cemetery

BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) on Friday decommissioned Athlone West Cemetery after the graveyard ran out of burial space.

In a statement, Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube, pictured, said the council had decommissioned Athlone West Cemetery and instead commissioned Umvutcha Cemetery with a capacity of 45 000 graves.

“The city of Bulawayo would like to inform the public and valuable stakeholders that burial space at Athlone West Cemetery has been exhausted.

“In view of the aforementioned, the cemetery will be decommissioned with effect from Friday 7 January 2022 with the subsequent commissioning of Umvutcha Cemetery,” Dube said.

Athlone West Cemetery was opened in 2018 with space for 8 000 graves to last for four years.

Bulawayo council spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the cemetery would only remain open for second interments, and burials in reserved graves.

“There will be no more regular burials conducted at Athlone West Cemetery. However, the cemetery will remain open for second interments and burials in reserved graves,” Mpofu said, adding that Umvutcha is estimated to fill up in 10 years “barring any unforeseen circumstances like bed rock which has been a challenge at Athlone West”.

Council has been calling on residents to embrace cremations or grave sharing to save available burial space.

by Andile Tshuma