R500000 to revamp cemetery

THE Thekwini municipality has set aside R500000 to revive and retain the city's oldest cemetery in line with heritage site laws.

The money will be used to restore the dignity of the collapsing cemetery on Dr Pixley KaSeme Street, formerly known as West Street.

The graveyard was partly vandalised by criminals and taxi drivers in the vicinity.

Some of the cemetery's oldest graves date back to the 18th century and are mostly war graves.

The cemetery also caters for the Muslim community, who chose to cordon off their graves, blaming the municipality for failing them.

Municipality head of parks, recreation and cemeteries Thembinkosi Ngcobo said the council would fix the chapel that burnt down in 2007 and the perimeter wall surrounding the grave site, which had been knocked down by motorists.

"The municipality also had to negotiate with the church that owned the chapel before restoring it."

Ngcobo said since the cemetery was a heritage site, there were laws that state what can or cannot be done.

He said they would work closely with the department of architecture and design.