KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube has condemned the desecration of burial sites by unscrupulous criminals who have reportedly removed granite tombstones from the grave sites in Tongaat (eThekwini) for commercial resale as granite kitchen tops.
Dube-Ncube has urged law enforcement agencies to act with haste to apprehend these culprits: “We are really disturbed by these reports about people who do not respect grave sites and who are desecrating them by stealing tombstones placed there by relatives to remember their loved ones who are no more”.
“Tampering with grave sites is a serious offence that carries a hefty fine and even a prison sentence. The KZN Cemeteries and Crematoria Act requires one to seek permission from the MEC for Local Government to formally exhume a grave site. KZN Cogta MEC is the custodian of grave sites in the province and he or she must be consulted in this regard,” said Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube has called upon communities to be vigilant. “The reports we have received indicate that the stolen tombstones are used to make granite kitchen tops which are then re-sold to unsuspecting communities. We urge our communities to ensure that they know the origins of the material they purchase, especially granite,” said Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube has also urged municipalities to ensure that adequate security measures are put in place to prevent such incidents from re-occurring.