Relatives urged to reclaim graves and prevent a shack invasion.
With many prospective homeowners still on the housing waiting list after incessant broken promises, the number of the displaced keeps mounting, their desperation compounding and exasperation leading them to do the unthinkable. The only space left for them to occupy in this bustling township is seemingly grave sites which some are said to be eyeing.
While this move may lead them on a collision course with residents of the buried relatives and ancestors at the Old Alex Graveyard across Florence Mophosho Avenue and Setswetla informal settlement, some of them have already set up home at the site and on top or alongside the graves. This was said by Mahlomola Malinga at the graveyard a day after a group of Alex residents spent May (Workers) Day cleaning the deplorable looking place of litter and decaying waste dumped by Setswetla residents.
“It’s a painful, disrespectful and uncultured world to foul the dead. The municipality and government ought to take steps to protect the home of our ancestors who we laid to rest in peace,” Malinga said.
He pointed to piles of stenchy waste, on occasion leading this reporter to leapfrog over faeces desecrating the area and where many tombstones have been toppled, broken and are missing.
Most troubling for Malinga was that those who have intruded onto the site have set up home for years without much concern raised. “Others walk over the graves, seemingly oblivious of the emotional turmoil caused to relatives of those in trampled graves.”
Those who spent the day cleaning the area seemed to have left a glaring reminder of the mammoth clean-up required on the now porous area with gaping holes in the precast concrete palisade leading onto paths which Malinga said are crisscrossed day and night, allegedly used as shortcuts by criminals. “Condoms are strewn around signalling potential rape spots or disrespectful lovemaking at a place we all should regard as sacred.”