The Mangaung Metro, in the Free State, says it is running short of burial sites. This comes amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Metro is now encouraging residents to use alternatives, including cremation.

Bloemfontein in the Mangaung Metro is the epicentre of the COVID-19 infections in the province.

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The Free State province’s capital is preparing for the worst in dealing with the pandemic.

It has identified a tract of land, but it will only have space for 3 000 graves. There are competing demands for land, including housing and economic development.

Residents have mixed reactions to the call for cremations.

“The grave sites are getting full each day. Many people are dying. The youth want land to build houses. I will support the government if they plan to cremate the deceased.”

In the video below, the City of Johannesburg says it has enough burial space amid the COVID-19 outbreak:

Mangaung Metro executive mayor, Olly Mlamleli, says they are doing everything in their power to mitigate the crisis.

“All of us, we must be ready on time so that we don’t orientate families only at the brink of catastrophe because at that they will be having shock, pain, bereaved so they must be ready. So it is awareness again at the same time and checking the readiness. We are also preparing our communities about what is envisaged.”

With projections of mass burials, funeral undertakers have been roped in. Twilight Funeral Home director, Zandi Twayi, says they have also devised people to use alternative means.

“For that purpose, we have procured a mobile mortuary built for us in Johannesburg that will enable us to have a mobile mortuary at any given place.”

The Mangaung Metro says it will look into finding land in other areas within the municipality.

In the video below, SABC News looks at virtual funerals to promote social distancing: 

Below is an infographic on how to bury COVID-19 victims: