WATCH | Designer death? Inside SA's luxurious funeral market

25 October 2019 - 10:38 By Reuters

A South African company is offering designer cemeteries, complete with beauty features and state-of-the-art security, for those who can afford it.

Lawrence Pooe buried his cousin in Johannesburg's Nasrec Memorial Park last month.

Today, he's back picking a plot for himself.

But these final resting places don't come cheap. Pooe is paying R25,000 for a grave as a customer of Calgro M3, a company that offers luxurious alternatives to the typical burial.

Plots can be as high as R360,000 rand for an eight-person family plot, with extra features such as plants and benches.

Calgro M3 also promises state-of-the-art security.

And designer cemeteries also come with rippling dams, ponds and native flora and fauna — reinforcing the divide between SA's haves and have nots.

But Calgro M3 CEO Wikus Lategan said the cemetery is not just the preserve of the wealthiest, as plots can be paid for over time, without additional costs.

Nevertheless, some, like Mdudzi Molefe, who lives near the Nasrec cemetery, thinks it's a waste of money.

But Joburg's Avalon public cemetery, one of SA's largest, has reached capacity.

About 45 to 60 graves are being reopened each week to allow for second burials.