Vandals wreak havoc at cemetery



June 9, 2016
Vandals wreak havoc at cemetery

COSTLY BREAKAGE: Grave stones knocked off pedestals.

Mense say Satanists may have destroyed graves on 6th of 6th.

Residents of this town are freaked out after their graveyard was desecrated, and they believe the devil had a hand in it.

The tombstones of some 40 graves were damaged and pushed over in the Hawston Cemetry on Sunday after midnight.

And Oscar Fisher, 44, says it’s no coincidence.

“Monday was the sixth of the sixth month 2016, so you have to ask whether it’s Satanists or vandals,” says Oscar, whose mother in-law’s newly-erected tombstone was also damaged.

Genine Figaji says the culprits definitely caused the damage on Sunday night because she didn’t notice anything wrong when she visited her dad’s grave at 5pm the afternoon before.

Oscar, who repaired his mother-in-law’s headstone himself, appealed to the community to come forward and identify the vandals.

As news of the desecration spread, mense started streaming to the graveyard on Monday to check whether their loved ones’ last resting places were still intact.

Some tombstones were struck down or ripped off their pedestals while others were broken, and the tiles on still more were ripped out and shattered.

Una Gillion says she was left angry and heartbroken when she saw the damage to her husband’s grave.

“It’s not human to do something like this,” says a dumbstruck Una.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Johnson, the owner of El Al Funeral Services, says families should prepare to dig deep into their pockets, as new tombstones or even just the repairs costs thousands of rands.

“It depends on the damage. To place the headstone back on its pedestal could cost approximately R2 500.

“A new tombstone costs between R6 500 and R18 000,” explains Johnson.

Now residents want to know who will pay for the damage.

“It’s not like dead people have insurance or people take out insurance on graves,” says Genine.

She adds that Overstrand Municipality should appoint caretakers who can protect and clean the cemetery.

“Why can they clean Mount Pleasant’s Cemetery but not Hawston’s? We all pay taxes so we should be treated equally,” says Genine.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk says nobody reported the damage to SAPS.

“This office has no record of the incident,” he states.

Meanwhile, Overstrand Municipality confirmed its Law Enforcement Department is busy investigating the matter.

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