THE Bulawayo City Council has unveiled an ambitious plan to set up a cemetery for the rich where only casket size graves would be offered.
It would cost $500 to reserve a grave at the planned Athlone West Cemetery for the well-up, compared to less than $50 charged at other council cemeteries.
The $500 is for the first five years and thereafter one pays 50% to reserve the grave for another five years.
The cemetery would have all facilities such as security lighting at night to befit its upmarket status.
Council said it would rake about $4,7 million through the sale of 8 256 graves at the proposed cemetery.
Athlone Cemetery was closed some years ago after it got full and only burials of people who bought burial space at certain sections of the graveyard take place.
According to a council report, council’s director of health services Zanele Hwalima said unlike other cities, Bulawayo did not have an upmarket cemetery and the department was aware of a privately-run upmarket cemetery in Harare.
She said the cemetery would have the requisite infrastructure such as a perimeter fence and gate, have security lighting and be well maintained.
Council said if all the graves were sold, the cash collected would “pay-off the investment into establishing of this cemetery”.
“It was envisaged that the plot would accommodate 8 256 casket size graves.
“Using the cost during the week for a resident which was $575 the total after selling the 8 256 graves would be ±$4,7 million, if council put into consideration weekend/public holiday sales as well as sales to non-residents. If all the graves were sold, the monies collected would pay off the investment into establishing of this cemetery,” part of the report reads.
“A section would be demarcated for residents who might wish to reserve an allotment.
“The reservation would be renewable every five years failing which it lapses.”
On the proposed burial charges, between Monday and Friday, residents would pay $575 and $582,50 on Saturdays.
On Sundays and public holidays, fees are pegged at $690.
The charges would go up for non-residents as they would pay $776,25 between Monday and Friday and $948 on Saturdays.
On Sundays and public holidays, fees would be pegged at $1 035.
Late last year, residents of Trenance, Northlyn and Harrisvale suburbs were up in arms with a property developer who planned to establish a private cemetery in the area without their consent.
The council in May last year approved Elizabeth Magadalane Dubois’ application to establish a private cemetery in the area with a capacity of at least 100 000 graves.
The Dubois cemetery was meant to be an upmarket facility for the upper class with a single grave expected to cost $5 000.