AFTER receiving complaints from visitors to the St Mary’s Cemetery at the bottom of the Baakens Valley, I was horrified at what I saw when I went there for an on-site inspection. St Mary’s is one of the oldest cemeteries where many of our city’s founders are laid to rest.
I found two shacks that were built on graves, one beneath bushes, many vandalised graves that are being used as toilet facilities, a washing line with washing on it, burnt-out fires and many ripped-open rubbish bags with the most disgusting filth you can imagine.
Being a member of the public health sub-committee for parks and cemeteries I had no option but to immediately intervene.
I made contact with the relevant official and was very impressed when I was given an undertaking that the situation would be rectified the following day. The next day the shacks were removed and I trust that the rubbish and dead fallen-over trees will also be removed shortly.It should be kept in a spotless condition as the Old Tramways building across the road will one of these days be completed and many tourists will be visiting this area.
This cemetery is also the setting of thrilling ghost tours and evening walks. I want to hang my head in shame at what I have seen there. What a disgrace!
It is so sad to see our city’s treasures being vandalised and not being looked after. Being Heritage Month, I think it is appropriate for me and all the citizens of this friendly city filled with history to again request the authorities in power to treasure the heritage of our past. I agree with the person who said that if you do not know where you come from, you have no idea where you are going to.
We have such a beautiful city. Let’s treasure our unique heritage!
DA Councillor Brenda Matthee