THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has suspended burials at the Athlone West cemetery due to a breakdown of a grave-digging machine.
Council sources told New Zimbabwe.com that following the breakdown, all burials in the city are now conducted at Luveve cemetery.
The sources said the machine's breakdown had been due to an increase in Covid-19 related burials which have overwhelmed the city's cemeteries.
On average the cemeteries are reported to be burying 60 people per day.
"Since Thursday, the city council has not been burying bodies at Athlone West cemetery because the grave digging machine broke down. As a result, all burials are now being conducted at Luveve cemetery," said one of the sources.
Some bereaved families who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com accused the BCC of shortchanging them by allocating them burial space at Luveve when they had booked at Athlone in advance.
A grave costs US$53 at Athlone West and US$43 at Luveve.
"We booked a grave at Athlone for our relative. When we wanted to bury him, we were told there were no graves as the digging machine was down. I think it is unfair. The council should have stand-by grave digging machines so as to avoid inconveniencing bereaved families," said one resident.
The latest council report revealed the city's cemeteries are being overwhelmed by burials from neighbouring South Africa and Botswana.
When reached for comment, Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni said he had not been briefed about the latest development.
"I am yet to get a briefing on this one since it is a Sunday," he said.