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Unlawful development of cemetery in Ventersdorp

NW405 may be liable for a fine of about R5 million from the Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development after developing a cemetery in Ventersdorp without obtaining an environmental authorisation.

NW405 may be liable for a fine of about R5 million from the Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development after developing a cemetery in Ventersdorp without obtaining an environmental authorisation.

In a compliance notice served to the municipality last September, it states that the municipality is in breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations with the development and operation of a cemetery of 100 000 square metres or more on the Doornpan farm in April last year.
The findings followed a site inspection of the cemetery in Ventersdorp on 6 July by an environmental management inspector from the department in the presence of the acting director of strategic planning in Ventersdorp.
The municipality was given an opportunity to provide reasons why it had developed the cemetery without authorisation from the department. Failure to do so would result in having to cease operating and demolishing all structures associated with the cemetery.
The notice also stated that the breach is an offence; a convicted person is liable to a fine not exceeding R5 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years.
Khuduga Dibe, a community leader, says he was shocked when he saw a family at the Doornpan graveyard that had to drain water from a burial pit before burying their loved one.
‘There are already about two hundred graves and there is a problem with that graveyard because the municipality did not comply with the environmental laws,’ he said.
Khuduga Dibe, a community leader in Ventersdorp.

 

Council spokesperson responds
The council spokesperson, Willie Maphosa, says the pre-compliance notice for the graves referred to was issued to the former Ventersdorp Municipality before the amalgamation process.
‘The new Ventersdorp/Tlokwe NW405 municipality embarked upon the process of rectifying the unlawful establishment and the operation of the area as a cemetery in September 2016 and is still busy with it.
‘The first step was to apply for Section 24 G (the rectification process which includes an EIA) from the department.
‘The process of procuring a service provider was initially delayed due to insufficient funding. However, the adjustment budget adopted late in February has made the necessary funding available and a service provider will, therefore, be appointed in the near future,’ he said.

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