Stegman Road cemetery planning can go ahead

The planning for the reopening of the Stegman Road cemetery can start, following municipal approval.

The planning for the reopening of the Stegman Road cemetery can go ahead after the City of Cape Town gave approval last week.

The cemetery is owned privately by The Moslem Community Claremont Trust (MCCT) and has been closed for burials for nearly 100 years.

The move follows discussions last week between the City, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and the Stegman Road Cemetery Board, which falls under the MCCT.

The City also had to get final approval from Heritage Western Cape.

Nazeem Jamie, chairman of the nearby Al Jaamia Mosque said: “There is an overwhelming response of people who want to be buried at the cemetery, particularly those families who were relocated during the Group Areas Act. We have been inundated with calls from elderly persons with requests for their family to be buried here.”

An interim committee would draw up a report on how best to use the site for burials, he said.

“The committee will consist of community representatives, which are mainly elders. The elderly persons are the ones who have been more historically involved with the cemetery,” he said.

An engineer would calculate how many graves could fit on the site, he said.

Cemetery Management Committee chairman Omar Hajwani said: “The committee to be put together will be engaging about the broader plans as there is still a lot to be done. The space of the cemetery needs to be configured according to the requirements.”

The site would need to be cleared and enclosed with fencing, he said.

“There is also another piece of land, on the side that belongs to the City, which we are still engaging with them about to eventually make it a part of the cemetery,” he said.

Mr Hajwani that once a plan had been drawn up it would be put to the community. A possible opening date could not yet be confirmed, he said.

MJC deputy president Riad Fataar said all the hurdles preventing the reopening of the cemetery had been removed.

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said: “Burials will take place here once again for the first time in nearly a century. This outcome seeks to rectify past injustices and to begin the healing process of wounds in a community forcefully removed from their homes.”