Despite several delays and an ever-diminishing number of available burial plots, the development of a new proposed cemetery for the Helderberg has once again been delayed.
The proposed site borders a small farm graveyard in Old Strand Road, near Firgrove and covers about 20 ha – enough space for 15 000 graves. It is estimated the development of the proposed Vaalfontein Cemetery will cost between R8 and R10 million. DistrictMail previously reported that the proposed Vaalfontein Cemetery will be developed in three phases.
Belinda Walker, former Mayoral Committee member for Community Services and Special Projects, previously explained that work on the first phase was initially set to start in 2014. But planning approvals took longer than anticipated and development was scheduled to commence last year. The process was further delayed after the first round of tenders, received in December 2014, were considerably over budget and the tender process was cancelled. The scope of work was readjusted and a new tender was advertised last year.
After a two-year delay, construction was reset to commence in March this year. Further setbacks, which entailed tenders having to be adjudicated and awaiting approval of the Bid Adjudication Committee on a report recommending the award, resulted in yet another postponement. As a result the R7 million construction of Phase 1 was rescheduled for July.
This week, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services Anda Ntsodo told DistrictMail construction of Phase 1 has been further postponed after the environmental approval expired.
“The new application will be subject to a public participation process and may take 12 months before a new environmental approval is issued,” explained Ntsodo.
“If there are no substantive objections or appeals against the environmental approval, the construction of Phase 1 will commence in 2018 and Phase 2 will follow immediately afterwards in the 2018/19 financial year.”
Phase 1 entails roadworks, a slip lane for vehicles entering the cemetery, internal roads, parking, pathways and two initial large burial blocks.
Phase 2 comprises the construction of an office and ablution facilities, as well as fencing and landscaping.
The development’s third phase will see the construction of four additional burial blocks – to be implemented, depending on burial demand and available budgets.
Although the cemetery is critically needed as most of the local cemeteries have reached full capacity, Ntsodo says statistics show there is a higher demand for cremation as opposed to burials in the Helderberg.
According to Ntsodo, Helderberg residents are primarily dependent on Rusthof Cemetery, which has approximately five years of burial space left. “Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, Goedehoop, Strand and Gordon’s Bay Cemeteries receive occasional requests for burial in family graves, but no longer have any vacant graves,” says Ntsodo.
The new cemetery will provide a choice of two types of private graves: full monumental and berm graves. Non-private or “public” graves – the cheapest burial option – will also be available.
Public graves grant the deceased’s next of kin the right to mark the site for five years, after which council may allow a second burial on top of the first burial, without disturbing the first in any way.
The cemetery will also cater for a variety of options for cremated remains.