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Post - 2021-07-21

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Ladysmith crematorium closed after unrest

NEWS

CHANELLE LUTCHMAN chanelle.lutchman@inl.co.za

BOTH furnaces and equipment at the 40-year-old Ladysmith Crematorium were damaged during the protests last week. On Friday, a video circulated on social media showing the destruction of the property. This week, Anook Singh, the chairperson of the crematorium, said: “A crematorium is a person's last place of finality. It's where their loved ones bid them goodbye for one last time and here we had people running through, damaging and destroying the place and setting things alight. “This is the only crematorium in Ladysmith. The closest facility is about 100km away in Newcastle.” He said staff at the Newcastle crematorium had agreed to extend its operational hours to accommodate the backlog in cremations due to the closure, "It is sad because families have to travel further away for cremation and the travel cost will increase." Singh said the hall on the property was also damaged as well as a prayer room at a Muslim cemetery nearby. He said he and members of the crematorium cleaned up the privately-run facility on Tuesday. "The cost to replace and repair can be anything between R2 million and R5m because specialised equipment was destroyed. Once we sit down and calculate, we will know exactly what the costs are and what we can salvage." He said that if the furnaces needed to be replaced, they would order them locally. “It is made locally, so we can get it but it will take time and cost a lot of money.” The Clare Estate and the Mobeni Heights crematoriums are open to the public.

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