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Residents join hands for a clean-up at Zuurfontein Cemetery

Residents told the Kempton Express they made several failed requests to the CoE to clean and maintain the Zuurfontein Cemetery.

AfriForum joined the Zuurfontein Cemetery Group for a clean-up of Zuurfontein Cemetery on April 6.

The December 18, 2023, edition of the Kempton Express reported that the residents urged the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) to do something about the state of the cemeteries in the city.

The residents had told the Kempton Express they had made several failed requests to the CoE to clean and maintain the Zuurfontein Cemetery.

ALSO READ: Zuurfontein Cemetery gets cleaned up

Residents said this cemetery used to be a beautiful, peaceful place with tight security.

An AfriForum member picking up the grass.

Ernest Hoddinott from AfriForum Kempton Park said the NPO works for the community by the community.

“We are passionate about the environment and the safety of the community we live in. The Zuurfontein Cemetery is another example where the community requested our assistance.

“Where there is a need, we attempt to fulfil it. The community approached us previously, and we helped them by tending to the rose garden section of the cemetery, but without continuous maintenance, the garden fell back into an overgrown state,” said Hoddinott.

Some of the cleaners.

He said the organisation would investigate making the Zuurfontein Cemetery a long-term project.

If this is done, community members have to make themselves available one Saturday of the month for about four hours and AfriForum will assist them in their endeavours.

“We would like to encourage the community to join us on the days we will be there. The more community members involved, the lighter the workload and we can make a difference.”

ALSO READ: What is the maintenance plan Zuurfontein Cemetery?

Joos Nel said cleaning the cemetery was personal to him because he had nine family members buried there.

“We cut the grass, cleaned the pavements, picked up garbage and also got donations for dust bins for the cemetery from Sereth Logistics and Martinette Huggetts. The dustbins will soon be installed at the cemetery,” he said.

Some of the actions that took place.

Nel said some community members could not attend the clean-up but contributed towards the event.

“I would like the municipality to budget for cemeteries and maintain all cemeteries in the city so that our loved ones rest with dignity.

“I would also like the municipality to look at the staff complement at the cemeteries because four people to dig graves and maintain Zuurfontein and Bredell cemeteries is incorrect.”

Community activist Lorraine Porter said the Zuurfontein Cemetery has tombstones that are over 100 years old and believes it should be a heritage site.

“I love walking around Zuurfontein looking at the old war graves. They represent our country’s history and we as the community would like to have these graves protected, as we are proud of where we have come from as a country.

“We are proud South Africans and want to be the change we want to see,” said Porter.

Some of the actions that took place.

“Often, these old graves have no next of kin alive to maintain the gravestones that are falling apart.

ALSO READ: Letter: Zuurfontein Cemetery conditions not improved

“We, as members of the Zuurfontein Cemetery Group, need a next-of-kin list so that we can contact people who may not know about the cemetery’s current state,” added Porter.

“Our group is grateful to AfriForum for their ongoing assistance. We hope by reaching out, we will somehow get more concerned community members involved.

“We would also like to get access to the broken equipment that belongs to Zuurfontein so we can have it fixed and use it for our future clean-ups.”

The group is planning a clean-up on May 4 and invites residents to join.

“We want to do this for our generations to come, so they have something to look back on. Most importantly, we do this for our loved ones that have passed on,” said Porter.

Zuurfontein clean-up was a success.


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