Alison Ferreira, 56, and her friend, Hester Strydom, 50, recently went to visit a friend’s grave at Stellawood Cemetery. Ferreira said they went to the grave because their friend would have turned 99. It is where people go to visit their departed loved ones, but going to graveyards is a risk some are no longer willing to take.
“We were quite nervous at first because the grave is at the further end of the cemetery,” Ferreira said. “We noticed that there were holes in the fence and it looked like vagrants were sleeping at the cemetery.”
She said the area near the grave is bushy and she also noticed that there was glass along parts of the road, which made her think there were smash-and-grabs within the cemetery. “My friend saw a man with a beer bottle in his hand. When I looked he went into the bushes and returned. As we were approaching the car, he said he didn’t want money, so we ripped both our gold chains off and gave them to him,” she said.
Ferreira said they went to report the incident to the security guard, who was not interested, and they did not bother going to the police although the chains were worth at least R4000.
“I am shocked but deeply disappointed. I am well-known by the homeless and I give, so this makes me bitter. It’s a pity, but I can’t help it. I’ll still give,” she said.
“We’ve heard stories about Stellawood and terrible things happening at Redhill Cemetery,” she said. “We could have been killed. How can they charge people for burials, but it is not safe there?”
Deliwe Ngema, 66, recently went to Redhill Cemetery to visit her late father-in-law’s grave, but could not see it because thieves had stolen his gravestone. They returned the next day to look for it again.
“At first they stole the slab, and then they stole the headstone,” Ngema said. “It looked like they hit the headstone with a hammer because only a part of it was left in the soil.”
She said her niece’s gravestone was also stolen from the same cemetery. When they went to report the matter at the cemetery office, they were told that many people had their gravestones stolen by people pretending to be workers.
They were also told that Chesterville Cemetery had guard dogs and the guards there carried guns. The eThekwini Municipality had not responded to questions on the matter by the time of publication.
Source: IOL News