Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) has implemented temporary and long-term measures to restore and protect the Braamfontein cemetery following recent acts of vandalism. Short-term interventions include six additional security personnel and the trimming of low-hanging trees, while long-term plans entail the installation of lighting, overall fencing, and a fence around the memorial section. Families of loved ones who have been laid to rest at the cemetery are urged to visit the site to assist in identifying and reinstating vandalised plaques.
JCPZ media relations officer Noeleen Mattera attributes the desecration of the sacred and historic facility to on-going acts of vandalism.
"The root cause for the desecration of ash walls and niches is due to a combination of conditions, which includes the illegal access to the cemetery over the boundary wall," Mattera says.
She says the Braamfontein cemetery, which holds a rich history and cultural heritage that dates to the 1800s, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Johannesburg.
To restore and protect the cemetery, Mattera says the JCPZ team has deployed six additional security personnel on a 24-hour shift.
Security guards will be stationed at the entrance and the ash memorial site during the day and at night.
Further service delivery measures include the recent trimming of low-hanging trees, which has made a noticeable difference in terms of visibility.
"Long-term plans for the installation of lighting around the vandalised area are in the pipeline. A service provider has been instructed to provide a detailed implementation plan within the next few months in the ash section of the cemetery," she explains.
Mattera says an installation of a fence around the memorial section is also being considered, as are discussions in partnership with the Friends of Johannesburg Cemeteries and the Heritage Foundation for a way forward to reinstate the ash section, restore name stones, and curb vandalism in the entire cemetery.
"The malicious acts of vandalism have left many families distraught and destroyed a sacred site that the City cherishes," she notes.
Written by Sascha-Lee Joseph