A Muizenberg family believed paying for a private grave would protect it from vandalism and give them peace of mind, but it was not to be.
Roxanne Michaels says her brother passed away in a car accident and was buried on 12 December.
But less than a month after his burial at the Muizenberg Cemetery, his grave is a mess.
And she says it’s all the fault of grave diggers who don’t care whose graves they damage.
“We paid for a private grave cause we were told the public graves belong to the City and they can re-use the gravesite and we went private instead,” she explains.
“Every time we go and visit his grave, it's demolished by the workers digging the graves.
“We have asked them numerous times to please avoid throwing sand or rubbish on his grave, but they don’t care or show any remorse.
“Either his sand has been taken or the site is destroyed by the other graves that have been dug up, or his flowers and stones were thrown off from his grave.”
She says it is sad watching her brother’s grave being ruined and there is nothing they can do about it,“ adds Roxanne.
“I just feel that we deserve more respect as we paid a lot of money for the private grave.
“The City has been giving me lame excuses when I report the matter to them.”
Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health Councillor Zahid Badroodien said the City staff that were on duty when the complainant arrived at the cemetery confirmed that concerns were raised while grave diggers were busy preparing a grave adjacent to Mr. Michaels’ for burial.
“Unfortunately it is impossible to prepare an adjacent grave without having some impact on the surrounding graves due to the close proximity,” he says.
“The process of grave digging will, in most instances, impact on adjacent graves, especially when there is limited space as the grave digging process requires that burial mounds are created with sand on all four sides of the grave to allow for grave boards to be placed, in order to fit a lowering device for a coffin.
“This is a standard process and similarly on the 12th of December when Mr. Michaels was buried, the adjacent grave was also temporarily impacted.”
He added that workers always ensure they restore the adjacent graves as neatly as possible after burial, although this may not always be exactly the way that the family has done it.
The City has since fixed the grave and sent pictures as evidence.
Caption: UPSET: Roxanne Michaels
at her brother’s grave at
the Muizenberg Cemetery
Caption: EXPECT IMPACT: Zahid Badroodien
Caption: EVIDENCE: Fixed by the City
Caption: RUIN: Damages to the grave