Imagine a scenario where you cannot bury your loved one near you because, well, your local cemetery cannot accommodate their remains. It’s an unsettling thought, yet it is one that will certainly face Johannesburg residents in the future.
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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ), the custodian of Cemeteries and Crematoria in the City of Johannesburg, now only has 4 of the 38 cemeteries it manages still available for new burials, with burial space for the next 50-60 years.
According to Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development in the City of Johannesburg, there are various alternative burial options available to people, including reduction burials -which involve using a smaller coffin for remains in order for more room to be created for additional burial space in the same location-, cremation, and second burials.
In fact, up to three family members may use the same grave, allowing family members to be laid to rest in one burial location. Numerous residents in Tshwane and Johannesburg have already gone this route - 2379 second burials were considered in the 2014/15 financial year, and this number has now grown to more than 4 000 during the 2017/18 financial year. It is estimated that an average of 20% of all burials in Johannesburg are reopenings.
Religious leaders and funeral directors are requested to continuously engage bereaved families about alternatives to enable the City of Joburg to provide dignified burial options for loved ones. Residents looking for more information about alternative burial options may visit www.jhbcityparks.com or call 011 712-6600.