The City of Bulawayo has advised that only headstones shall be allowed at the City’s cemeteries instead of full tombstones in a bid to ensure easy and effective maintenance of cemeteries.

The proposal was announced following a resolution by a Council meeting of March 2018 and also in line with the Cemeteries Act and the Bulawayo (Cemeteries) Regulations. The City’s Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube said only headstones shall be erected on graves at Athlone West Cemetery and new cemeteries.

Commenting on the proposal, the Director of Health Services, Dr Sibanda highlighted that the headstones would significantly improve the outlook of the City’s cemeteries.

“It has been noted over the years that all Cemeteries where all manner of tombstones are erected become difficult to maintain especially with regards to weeds and grass as these have to be maintained manually,” he said.

He added that if only headstones were placed in the City’s Cemeteries instead of full tombstones, the ground would be levelled and the grass at the cemetery would be maintained through mechanical trimming and would also reduce incidences of vermin in the form of snakes and rodents.

He further advised the community to adhere to the set out procedures when placing headstones at the City’s cemeteries. He encouraged members of the public wishing to do so to approach the cemetery where the deceased person is buried with the details of the deceased person where the Cemetery Supervisor will check the records to confirm the information. He added that the Supervisor may visit the grave yard to check physically after confirming or checking the cemetery records.

“The Cemetery Supervisor assists the applicants in completing the Tombstone Application form and fills in the Pro-forma Invoice, giving additional information and advice on the erection of the tombstone. The applicant then takes the Pro-forma Invoice to the Revenue Hall for payment where a receipt is issued and taken to 1st Floor, Tower Block for authorisation,” he said.

“On the day of putting up the grave monument the family or the Grave Monumentalists presents the Tombstone Application Permit with the attached receipt to the Cemetery Supervisor to verify payment and enter into the Tombstone Permits Register. The Cemetery Supervisor will lead the family or the tombstone Monumentalists to the grave yard to erect the monument and such work must be carried out to the satisfaction of the Cemetery Supervisor,” Dr Sibanda said.

He added that the permitted measurement at the old cemeteries were 1.2 meters x 2.2 meters while the length of the headstone at both the new and old cemeteries must not exceed 1 meter.