Graves and tombstones are sinking into raw sewage in squalid Alexandra Township, north of Joburg. Trees have also fallen on the graves causing damage.
Grieving resident Peggy Lekalakala says, “What’s this that we are seeing at the cemetery? We were raised to believe that graveyards must be respected but what’s happening here makes me feel sad.”
Another resident, Lillian Dassie says it pains her to see what’s happening.
“It pains me a lot. I cannot tolerate what I see here every day because our loved ones are sleeping here. You cannot say you love them, when you come here you find all this things happening here.”
Community leaders are also up in arms. They say their pleas for help have been ignored.
Authorities also can’t agree on who should fix the problem. Joburg City Parks’ Reggie Moloi says they are looking into long term methods to prevent this from happening.
“On Friday, we will be going out there to see what measures can be put in place for a long term. Joburg water will come and fix, three weeks later it’s back, not because they didn’t do a right thing, it’s just the nature of sewage; it’s like that but we need from our side to be saying lets redirect the water away from the graves.”
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Meanwhile, dispirited residents have again put their trust in the African National Congress (ANC).
73% of votes went to the ruling party in this traditional ANC stronghold. In the run-up to the elections, Alex residents protested over service delivery backlogs.