Grave concern as tomb raiders make a killing from granite headstones
Tomb raiders in KwaZulu-Natal are turning headstones into granite kitchen tops.
In a statement issued on Thursday‚ provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube slated the removal of granite tombstones from gravesites in Tongaat‚ north of Durban‚ for commercial resale as granite kitchen tops.
“Tampering with grave sites is a serious offence that carries a hefty fine and even a prison sentence. The KZN Cemeteries and Crematoria Act require one to seek permission from the MEC for Local Government to formally exhume a grave site. The KZN Cogta MEC is the custodian of gravesites in the province and he or she must be consulted in this regard‚” said Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube also urged residents to report the matter to law enforcement authorities and to be more vigilant
"The reports we have received indicate that the stolen tombstones are used to make granite kitchen tops which are then re-sold to unsuspecting communities. We urge our communities to ensure that they know the origins of the material they purchase‚ especially granite‚" said Dube-Ncube.
A local newspaper reported that about 20 tombstones had gone missing from the cemetery and that it was alleged that the stolen property was being sold to unscrupulous businessmen for resale.
KZN SAPS spokesman‚ Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane‚ said that they were not aware of these incidents and that no crime had been reported to them.
Granite sells for about R1‚000 per square metre.