By Auxilia Katongomara
Bulawayo is set to have its first crematorium in the western suburbs to be installed at Luveve Cemetery as the city council strives to reduce demand for burial space which is fast dwindling.
The machine is used in the disposal of a dead person’s body by burning it to ashes, typically after a funeral ceremony.
Cremation subjects a human body to intense heat ranging between 500 Degrees Celsius (930F) and 800 Degrees Celsius either through mechanical means using diesel fuel or a manual cremator; that is using firewood.
The process has not been popular in the city with an average of 12 cremations per month compared to about 300 burials being conducted.
In the latest council report, the Bulawayo City Council revealed that it approved an application from a resident to set up a crematorium at Luveve Cemetery.
The Director of Engineering Services engineer Simela Dube said they had received an application from Myriam Honiball seeking land to establish a crematorium at the Luveve cemetery that would provide the service to the city as well as reduce the demand for burial ground.
“There were no town planning objections to the proposal as the land applied for was within an existing cemetery and the use was ancillary to the initial use,” said Eng Dube.
The local authority approved that Stand 10335 Luveve measuring 818.17m2 in extent be leased to Myriam Honiball for the purposes of establishing a crematorium at the City Valuer’s recommended monthly rental of RTGS$100.
“That the lease to be for an initial period of 3 years,” read the report.
In February, tax authorities in South Africa seized a crematorium machine from Japan headed for Bulawayo in a payment dispute.
The imported cremator was supposed to complement the only one in the city situated at West Park Cemetery, used mainly by the Hindu community.
The cremator was impounded while on transit to Zimbabwe by South Africa’s Revenue Services (Sars) supposedly over “inadequate import documentation”.
Council, then, said it had paid an initial deposit of $97 120 some two years ago, for the crematorium machine and at some point resolved to raise about R120 000 to pay Sars in storage fees and secure the release of the machine which was still holed up in Durban.
In November last year, BCC proposed mandatory cremation for people aged 25 and below as it grappled with a shortage of burial space in the city.
Some councillors were mooting the idea of mandatory cremation of young people and double burial in one grave.
They proposed that children under 12 would be mandatorily cremated when they die. The Chronicle