When Chronicle visited the grave yards yesterday afternoon, the Bulawayo City Council undertakers were not at work and the council guards said that they had gone to the Revenue Hall to “collect their salaries”.
The graves appear neglected as some graves have even developed huge ant hills which make it almost difficult to imagine that a grave exists there.
At some places, only placards inscribed the date of birth and death of the deceased could be seen protruding through the tall bushes thus indicating that someone was laid to rest there.
In an interview, a Bulawayo City Council security officer on duty at one of the cemeteries told Chronicle that the state of the graves was not the city council’s responsibility but that of the deceased’s relatives who just chose to ignore maintaining their relatives’ graves.
“Once people put their deceased to rest, we see a few of them returning to maintain their relatives’ graves so I do not think it is the council’s responsibility to maintain someone’s home,” said the officer.
He also said he had heard of many families being cheated of their money by people from neighbouring high density suburbs who pretend to be undertakers and make them pay $20 to $30 for maintaining graves which they never do.
“Many people come here claiming to have made arrangements with our undertakers for maintaining their relatives’ graves and they go away disappointed when we tell them that they were conned by bogus undertakers,” said the security guard.
He also said that the conmen usually mingle with the grieving families during burials so as to earn the families’ trust by their convincing sympathy and handy assistance.
When they are given the first instalment before maintaining the graves they vanish into thinair.
However, there are some few specific groups of graves within the cemeteries that are properly looked after. Such graves are of the Muslim community, whose graveyard is walled and gated.