Sex, drugs and graves

16 January 2014 - 02:30 By NIVASHNI NAIR
DEFILED: Chatsworth ward committee member Tony Govender at the Crossmoor Cemetery in Durban. A gang of 'sugars' addicts has taken over the cemetery and desecrated a lingam, or sacred Hindi stone, that honours Shiva
DEFILED: Chatsworth ward committee member Tony Govender at the Crossmoor Cemetery in Durban. A gang of 'sugars' addicts has taken over the cemetery and desecrated a lingam, or sacred Hindi stone, that honours Shiva
Image: THULI DLAMINI

A gang of alleged "sugars" drug addicts has turned a Durban cemetery into their local haunt, to the outrage of the Hindu community.

Music blares from Chatsworth's Crossmoor Cemetery at night and the gang, believed to consist of seven men, apparently have sexwith women amid the graves.

Used condoms, empty alcohol bottles and cigarette butts are scattered throughout the cemetery. The Harichandran Kovil, a temple where Hindus perform the last rites for their loved ones, has become the men's "bedroom" .

Rookoo Singh, 67, discovered the men, aged between 18 and 24, sleeping under blankets on the kovil's floor late last year.

"I was shocked. Their washed underwear was hanging on the Shiva lingam and the place is filthy. I woke them up and demanded to know if they did the same in their own homes," she said.

A Shiva lingam is a sacred stone that represents the Hindu deity Shiva.

Over the next few days, Singh observed that the gang left the cemetery every morning and returned at night with cardboard boxes to sleep on.

Ward committee member Tony Govender inspected the kovil on New Year's Eve. The police were called in, but the gang continued to return daily to the cemetery.

Govender claimed the gang uses the kovil to hide goods they have stolen from nearby homes. He further alleged that the gang has stolen copper from electric cables running through the cemetery.

"The Hindu community is very angry. How are they to perform the last rites of their loved ones in a place that is even used as a toilet by these men?" he asked .

Govender believes the men are addicted to "sugars", a mixture of cocaine, heroin and rat poison.

"These guys are so high they don't even know they are disrespecting the dead and their own Hindu community.

"We are calling on authorities to help the men to be rehabilitated and help us get the kovil back to what it was.

"We expect the men to face the full might of the law if they are found committing crimes, but I cannot rule out that vigilantism will not occur as the community is fed up," he said.

eThekwini Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit Thembinkosi Ngcobo said the community and municipality should work together to resolve the issue.

"From our side we will have to look at security and locking the gates. "The community must get involved because I am sure many of the men are known to them, so they need to also solve this by approaching their parents."

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