Cllr Dinesh Vallabh,
Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality:
Democratic Alliance (DA) Cambridge ward councillor, Dr Dinesh Vallabh, together with his branch committee members responded to a long-standing community concern that maintenance of the Cambridge Cemetery has been neglected for too long. They embarked on a community care activity to begin cleaning up the cemetery grounds, starting with the children’s gravesites.
On Saturday, 28 March 2015, with overwhelming support of more than 50 DA activists, councillors, their families and two local grass-cutting contractors, they began the large task of tidying up the cemetery grounds by cutting grass, tidying gravesites, clearing gutters and generally restoring the cemetery as a place of respect and dignity for those bereaved families whose loved one are buried there.
While this should be undertaken as part of the normal service delivery of the Buffalo City Municipality (BCM), services for which all rate-payers are charged, Councillor Vallabh was most disappointed at the lack of support from the Directorate of Community Services in refusing to assist in this initiative by providing any staff or necessary equipment.
It is understood that one reason for this is the widespread dissatisfaction amongst BCM employees regarding the conditions of employment of casual and permanent staff, especially the level and payment of their salaries. Residents become aware of this through the obvious widespread lack of service delivery in many areas, such as refuse collection, road and other infrastructure maintenance; something which reflects negatively on BCM’s status as a metro.
The proposed ongoing clean-up of this cemetery will address what has become a significant crime-spot with many relatives visiting graves having previously reported being robbed while at the cemetery. Indeed, a number of people visiting the cemetery on Saturday morning commented very favourably on the work that the DA was doing, complimenting it for its civic mindedness and expressing the wish that the whole of Buffalo City could be run just as well. The support of police presence during the activity was also much appreciated.
The DA will be undertaking to have further clean-up activities at the cemetery, the next being scheduled in May. Community members will be most welcome to assist.