Epako cemetery in sorry state

30 Apr 2014 14:30pm
GOBABIS, 30 APR (NAMPA) – The Epako cemetery is in a state of decay, with overgrown grass and shrubs as well as heaps of domestic refuse an eyesore at this widely-used cemetery.
A large part of the cemetery is covered in grass and weeds, with many of the old graves at this cemetery hardly visible. Many other similar graves have been turned into flat terrains as people frequently use the unfenced cemetery as a shortcut to adjacent residential areas.
Residents living near the cemetery have taken the liberty of using the unfenced area along the boundaries of the cemetery as a dumping ground for their home and garden refuse.
The cemetery, according to residents Nampa spoke to on Tuesday, has been in its current state for close to two years.
Repeated attempts to get the Gobabis Municipality to clean up the cemetery have fallen on deaf ears, residents allege.
“This cemetery has been in this state for a long time and the municipality does not seem to care. We have approached the municipality several times with complaints about how the cemetery looks, but all we get are promises that are never fulfilled,” a concerned resident, Thomas Shilongo said.
Another resident, Hilma Tobias, who lives adjacent to the Epako Cemetery, expressed concern that the state of the cemetery does not reflect the solemnity that is associated with losing a loved one.
“How can a person get on in life knowing that your loved one is lying under heaps of home and garden refuse? This is disrespect upon the dead. We cannot allow such a thing to prevail,” said Tobias.
The Public Relations Officer of the Gobabis Municipality, Frederick Ueitele however told Nampa upon enquiry on Tuesday that plans are underway to improve the state of the cemetery.
According to Ueitele, the municipality has opted to outsource the renovation and upgrading of the cemetery – a process that is now at an advanced stage.
“The tender process is already initiated. Soon we will put the job on tender and the work on the cemetery will begin. We were just waiting for the rain to stop before we issue the call for tenders,” he said.
The Epako cemetery has been serving the community of Epako Residential area and other nearby residential areas in the vicinity of the cemetery for over 50 years. The municipality has over the years expanded the cemetery to make allocation for new graves.
Currently, the Gobabis Municipality is in the process of expanding the cemetery on its eastern side to add more graves - a project which started some two years ago.
The cemetery is still in use and have space available for new burials, according to the public relations officer.
It is not clear at this stage how many more graves will be added with the latest expansion programme.