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Tue Mar 28 04:18:42 SAST 2017

The ancestors are angry

Neo Goba | 2015-05-27 00:23:18.0

The government has been warned to stop "messing up" families and "tampering" with the ancestors.

The anger has been caused by the state's plans for burying more than one person in a single grave.

The Commission for the Promotion of the Human Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities yesterday said it would take the government to court if it went ahead with the burial changes.

Its chairman, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, said the struggle today "is to have access to our forefathers".

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the government's plans would damage spirituality and cultural beliefs.

"It cannot be that you have a Smith buried on top of a Naidoo on top of a Mkhwanazi," she said.

The commission said the burial of more than one person in a grave disregarded culture, spirituality and religion.

The commission gave all municipalities a month to scrap their burial plans.

The SA Local Government Association said that individual communities must be free to decide which burial system they wanted.

"It is not for the municipalities to decide on the reutilisation of graves," said the association's Mvuyisi April.

Municipalities across South Africa say they are running of cemetery space.

Relatively few bodies are cremated.

In December, Ekurhuleni, on the East Rand, caused an outcry when it said it was considering burying strangers on top of each other.

"We have tried being nice but now we are going to be more aggressive," said Mkhwanazi-Xaluva. "There needs to be immediate action by all municipalities that are considering any reuse or recycling of graves."

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the recycling of graves showed lack of respect for cultural values.

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