The City of Cape Town’s older cemeteries are reaching full capacity. This poses a challenge to City Parks, the department which is responsible for cemeteries. Instead of simply developing more cemeteries, City Parks is using making available additional burial and interment options in order to increase the density of burials, whilst still striving to respect cultural and religious diversity.
Maitland Cemetery is Cape Town’s largest cemetery (113 hectares) and will have exhausted its vacant graves’ space within three years. There are areas within this cemetery that cannot be used for in-ground burial due to the presence of a high water table. This land was therefore earmarked for building above-ground concrete crypts in the form of a mausoleum, as an alternative internment option to the public.
A pilot phase of 144 mausoleum crypts were built in 2011 and after 15 months of environmental monitoring, these crypts are now officially on offer to the public. Booking enquires can be made at the Northern Cemetery Booking Office on 021 550 7639.
During the last five years City Parks has also extended Khayelitsha, Grassy Park and Welmoed Cemeteries, as well as developed new cemeteries in Wallacedene and Delft.
These cemeteries have been designed with two types of private graves, namely full monumental and berm grave blocks. In order to densify burial layouts, the berm grave layout was introduced without pathways between the graves. The memorial work on berm graves is limited to headstones only and no monumental work is allowed on the surface of the grave. The surface is levelled and grassed to provide access for visitors. Berm graves are offered at 40% of the price of a full monumental grave, which provides a significant cost incentive, whilst the City saves space for future burial demands.
Both berm and full monumental graves offer “exclusive right of burial” and these graves give the family the option to re-use the grave for second burials (on top) of another family coffin.
Second burials or burials on top of another family member, causes no disturbance of the first buried coffin in any way. This practice is therefore being encouraged, so as to provide for more space in existing cemeteries for the future.
New cemeteries are also being planned in Vaalfontein (Somerset West) and Metro South East (Mfuleni) to cater for future demand for burials.
Anyone wishing to enquire about bookings at Wallacedene, Delft and Welmoed Cemetery can contact the following booking offices: