Tomb raiders are turning headstones into granite kitchen tops

KZN thieves desecrate graves for granite stones. /123RF
KZN thieves desecrate graves for granite stones. /123RF

Tomb raiders in KwaZulu-Natal are turning headstones into granite kitchen tops.

In a statement issued yesterday, provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs 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 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 resoled as granite kitchen tops to unsuspecting communities.

"We urge our communities to ensure that they know the origins of the material they purchase, especially granite," pleaded Dube-Ncube.

A local newspaper reported that about 20 tombstones had gone missing from the cemetery and were allegedly being sold to unscrupulous business people for resale.

KZN police spokesman, Lt-Col Thulani Zwane, said they were not aware of these incidents and that no case had been reported regarding these acts of theft.

Granite pieces sell for about R1000 per square metre.