Grave blunder causes sorrow

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Mateu Nonyane came home from theUnited States for Christmas to have a tombstone unveiling ceremony for four members of his family.

Instead, Nonyane, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and his family had to cancel their plans because Johannesburg city parks had given his family the wrong grave number.

A joint ceremony was to be held for Nonyane's mother, brother, niece and nephew on December 24. He and his sister Joyce Ntshebe had a tombstone erected on the grave as directed by city parks.

Their mother, Thoko Lizzy Nonyane, was buried in 1998 at the Roodepoort Cemetry in Dobsonville, Soweto.

"We are distressed that we put a stone on the wrong grave," said Ntshebe.

Nonyane said the error had thrown the family off balance.

"This whole thing has caused us emotional and psychological stress," he said.

City parks apologised to the family and promised to give them a progress report, but Nonyane said that had still not been done.

"I have to go back to Atlanta on Tuesday and this means that I have to come back for the ceremony when the gravestone is placed on the right grave," Nonyane said.

"When the whole matter has been settled we will see what steps to take."

Ronnie Moloi, city parks' senior manager for cemeteries and crematoria, said he was disappointed that the family had discussed the issue with the media.

"I do not wish to comment on the issue, but I can tell you that I met the family and we agreed on certain issues. If they want to get the media involved then it is no longer my case," Moloi said.

He said these mistakes often happened, but that city parks always tries to solve them with the families.