The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has decommissioned one of its major cemeteries, Athlone West Cemetery, Town Clerk Christopher Dube has said.
The local authority has since commissioned a new burial place, Umvutcha Cemetery with a carrying capacity of 45 000 graves.
In a statement on Friday, Dube revealed that Athlone West Cemetery has been closed after it ran out of burial space. Said, Dube:
The City of Bulawayo would like to inform the public and valuable stakeholders that the burial space at Athlone West Cemetery has been exhausted.
In view of the aforementioned, the cemetery will be decommissioned with effect from Friday 7 January 2022 with the subsequent commissioning of Umvutcha Cemetery.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo Corporate Communications manager Nesisa Mpofu said the cemetery would remain open for second interments and burials in reserved graves. She said:
There will be no more regular burials conducted at Athlone West Cemetery. However, the cemetery will remain open for second interments and burials in reserved graves.
Burials at Athlone West Cemetery started in 2018. Projected graves were 8 000, which at current burials were within the projected four years.
The projected number of graves at Umvutcha is 45 000 and these should be laid approximately 10 years barring any unforeseen circumstances like bedrock which has been a challenge at Athlone West.
Bulawayo is running out of burial space and the City Fathers have previously urged residents to embrace cremation and grave sharing among family members as part of ways to conserve burial space.