In what he described as an “uncomfortable situation”, Bandile Masuku, Gauteng MEC for Health, on Wednesday at the Honingnestkrans Cemetery in Pretoria took a look at mass graves prepared for the death toll in the province.
He worked with officers from the forensic pathology services and James Murphy, chief executive of Tshwane, to inspect the level of readiness.
Masuku said the province has space for more than 1.5 million graves and the Honingnestkrans Cemetery can handle up to 36,000 graves in the event of a sudden increase in the death toll.
In the Tshwane metro area, there are fewer people infected with the coronavirus than in other parts of the province. There are 24,000 graves here, but that could be expanded to 36,000, Masuku said.
In addition, there are 12,000 available graves in Ga-Rankuwa and 92,000 in Soshanguve and Klipkruisfontein,
Region 2 has 24,000 graves available in Honingnestkrans, region 3 has 60,000 in Zandfontein and 4,000 in Lotus Gardens. Region 4 has 10,000 graves in Olievenhoutbosch and 2,000 in Laudium. Region 5 has 1,020 in Refilwe, 1,050 in Cullinan and 500 in Rayton, while region 6 has 32,000 graves in Hatherley and 40,000 in Pretoria East.
“If there is a sudden increase in the death toll in the Tshwane area, we will be able to deal with it. The city has 15 cemeteries, there is room for mass graves. So the city is ready, ”he said.
Moeketsi Ramatsa, group chief of Sedibeng and Ekurhuleni’s forensic pathology services, believes they will be able to cope with a sudden rise in Covid-19 deaths.
“I don’t think we will be overwhelmed because we have put in place strategies. The remains of people who died of Covid-19 are being taken away from the hospital by a private funeral entrepreneur.
“They are not kept there for more than three days. On the day of the funeral, the surplus is brought for a morning service that does not take more than an hour and then it goes straight to the cemetery. “
The Johannesburg subway is preparing for 200,000 Covid-19 graves.