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If you are planning to bury a loved one in Ekurhuleni‚ note that you can’t just play music or bring an animal without permission or leave objects behind at metro graveyards.

On Sunday the City of Ekurhuleni re-released its by-laws which govern the public’s conduct at the metro’s cemeteries as a reminder for all those who may use the cemetery at any time.

The city said since the cemetery is a shared space for all communities‚ it has a responsibility to ensure that the community using the cemetery space has due regard for fellow users.

To this end‚ the city’s cemetery and crematorium by-laws outline the limitations and parameters set to promote peaceful‚ communal use of these important facilities‚ the metro said in a statement released on Sunday.

“In terms of the by-laws‚ gardening and general care of cemeteries are the responsibility of the city. Accordingly‚ any upkeep of graves should not include planting‚ erection‚ placing or leaving upon a grave any object or decoration. The only exception is within the first 30 days after interment when wreaths are traditionally laid as a symbol of remembrance. No person‚ other than the Cemetery Officer is allowed to plant a tree or shrubs in any section of the cemetery‚” the city said. The cemetery and crematorium by-laws also regulate the depth‚ length and width of grave excavations.

The material of a coffin is also regulated in that it should be either in natural wood or perishable material. The coffins for cremations must be constructed of mainly timber or wood derivatives.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Those that require‚ as part of their religious rituals‚ to take an animal to the cemetery‚ must seek permission from the cemetery officer before doing so‚” the city said. During funerals‚ the cemetery officer has the discretion to allow or prevent any type of music that‚ in their judgment‚ is unseemly or unsuitable for a funeral.

Tombstones and other forms of memorial work cannot be erected on Saturdays‚ Sundays‚ public holidays or after hours (between 4pm and 7am). The city shall not be held liable for damage or theft of any memorial work.

The city said contravention of its cemetery and crematorium by-laws‚ including disregarding the directions of the cemetery officer‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“is an offence‚ punishable by imprisonment or a fine‚ or both”. Ekurhuleni MMC for environment and waste management Ndosi Shongwe urged residents to abide by the by-laws at cemeteries.

“The by-laws must not only be seen as a hindrance to practices that people have grown used to‚ they serve a societal role of promoting cohesion in communities‚ and providing solutions to the challenges of a developing community‚ such as a decreasing burial space. The by-laws make provision for second and third interments for families that would want to bury their dead in one grave‚” Shongwe said.

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