News / South Africa / Local News

Tembile Sgqolana
3 minute read
17 Jul 2020
10:32 am

Knysna cemetery is telling us to bring our own soil – tombstone company

Tembile Sgqolana

According to the owner, they are not allowed to use the soil at the cemetery to erect the tombstone amid lockdown.

Graves and tombstones. Picture is for illustrative purposes only. Picture: Facebook

A tombstone company from George, Western Cape expressed their disapproved over the “bad” treatment they said they received at the Knysna cemetery every time they had to erect a tombstone.

The company’s owner, Craig Bredenkamp claimed that each time they come to Knysna cemetery they are delayed by at least two hours by the municipal workers at the gate.

“On Friday, we had an argument about the temperature of my workers. They said it was 40°C and higher, and I questioned it as I had checked their temperatures before we went there. In less than five minutes they checked it again and this time said it was fine.”

Bredenkamp stated that there have been times when he had to call the municipal workers’ superiors and threaten them in order to get access to the cemetery.

“This started a long time ago, in March. I thought it would end but it has become worse. I don’t mind if the person in charge of the cemetery is rude to me, but not my customers – that is not acceptable. I sent e-mails and made phone calls to the municipality, but they never came back to me,” he said.

The company owner also said they were recently told to bring their own soil as they are not allowed to use the soil at the cemetery to erect the tombstone.

“We bring our own soil when working in Knysna. We were working in Knysna on Friday, but we did not finish the tombstone, only the head stone was remaining which would take us less than 10 minutes.

“When we came back the next day we were told that Saturdays are only for funerals and we can’t finish the job. Every time we go there, they are making excuses and wasting our time.

“I have worked in cemeteries in George, Mossel Bay, Plett and Oudtshoorn, I have never experienced what is happening in Knysna,” Bredenkamp said.

Municipal spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhout said the municipality has put strict Covid-19 protocols in place at all greater Knysna cemeteries.

“Service providers are allowed to render services such as erecting tombstones during the week, however we emphasise that all staff and workers should comply with PPE protocols as well as other Covid-19 regulations,” he said.

“We do not allow any contractor or service provider during weekends to do any work, because most of the funerals are being conducted during weekends. We have only had one service provider requesting to erect tombstones.

“This service provider has been allowed to do so, however service providers should understand that they should stick to the office hours and any other arranged hours with the caretaker at the cemetery.”

As to the allegation of municipal workers being rude to Bredenkamp’s customers, Bezuidenhout said they did not allow members of the public access to the cemeteries at this time, except for funerals.

He did not respond to the question about why the tombstone company was required to bring its own soil.

This article first appeared on George Herald and was republished with permission.

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