CoW allocates land for new cemetery

Rita Kakelo
The City of Windhoek (CoW) confirmed council's approval of land that was allocated to develop a new cemetery in Windhoek. This was announced by City spokesperson Harold Akwenye, who said the municipality had procured 21 hectares of land for a new cemetery in 2021.
“Procurement of a consulting engineering company has been concluded and the company appointed," Akwenye said. "Additionally, project designs have been concluded, and phase one (earthworks) as well as partial fencing are set to start in the next financial year," he added.
The development of a new cemetery is expected to relieve pressure on the municipality, as burial spaces are becoming scarce in the City. Currently, the Khomasdal, Katutura and Old Location cemeteries are all at capacity and only utilised for second interments (second burials) and reserved graves.
According to Akwenye, there is no government budget allocation for cemetery maintenance, and all funds are drawn from the City's operational budget.
In response to the continued vandalism of cemeteries, Akwenye said all cemeteries have security guards, and the new cemetery will also have them, along with cameras. "All of this will depend on cost, as this will be rolled out systematically."
NMH recently visited the cemetery outside Sam Nujoma Stadium in Dolam, Katutura, and observed its dilapidated and vandalised condition, marked by graffiti and slurs painted on the walls, which were also damaged.
The City said it is addressing the damage.
"The damaged walls will be restored; most of these cases are pending insurance claim finalisation," Akwenye said. "Regarding the graffiti, we urge communities to take ownership of these facilities and keep them clean, as the current state does not reflect what visitors should perceive of the city residents."
A young woman who was visiting her aunt's grave said: "We buried my aunt in September last year and to my horror, not too long after burying her we found that the tiles from her tombstone had been removed."
She said the tombstone cost N$8 200, "and having it fixed will cost us another N$5 000."
Families are responsible for the upkeep of tombstones and Akwenye recommended they report acts of vandalism or theft to the police.