Bulawayo councillors are pushing for the mandatory cremation of those under 25 years of age as the city runs out of burial space.
The local authority has been urging residents to opt for cremation and double interment, but the uptake has been low due to cultural and religious beliefs.
Now councillors want mandatory cremation, a recent council report shows.
“Councillor S. Moyo noted saying the demand for land for burial space was consuming big land,” reads the report in part.
“Residents should be encouraged to consider cremations. She suggested that all persons below 25 years should automatically be cremated in order to save space for burials.
“The Deputy Chairperson (Councillor R. Mudara) supported the suggestion that the remaining burial space at West Park be reserved for Mzilikazi and Makokoba residents.
“Double interments should also be encouraged”.
The suggestions were made after councillors had raised a concern that burial space was fast running out in the city.
“He suggested that the remaining grave space be reserved for Mzilikazi and Makokoba residents while agreeing that for convenience residents should not travel long distances for burials.”
Council director of health services Dr Edwin Sibanda said they were engaging residents to encourage them to consider cremation and double burials.
“Director of Health Services explained that West Park was left with burial space of 200 graves. At current rate it was expected that the cemetery would be (out of burial space) at the end of October, 2018.
“Athlone and Marvel Cemeteries works were in progress.”
The report added; “Pumula South Cemetery has already been gazetted. Efforts were being made to encourage residents to consider double burials.
“Once the Council cremator was available relevant cremation policies would be formulated. All under 12 years persons would be mandatory cremated when they die.”