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Thieves vandalise region’s heroes acres

Zanu PF provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda said the fencing of the heroes acre was necessary to protect the cemeteries from the daring thieves.

BULAWAYO, Matabeleland North and South provincial heroes acres are being targeted by thieves who are stealing plants, flower pots and floral tributes from graves.

The shocking incidents have been condemned by authorities and grieving relatives whose floral tributes, plants and pots have been stolen.

One woman, who chose to remain anonymous, was left “devastated” after two shrubs were stolen from her husband’s grave.

“A pot was stolen from a grave earlier this year and flowers were pulled out and thrown all over the place,” she said.

“Now they have stolen two shrubs from my husband’s grave. It left me devastated and very upset.

“I want them to catch the people responsible for this. It’s not the money that it costs, it’s the principle.”

Western region heritage manager at the  National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe Senzeni Khumalo said the thieves were also targeting perimeter fences at the provincial heroes’ acres.

“There are three provincial heroes acres  in these provinces and two of them have lost their perimeter fences through vandalism,” Khumalo said.

“In Gwanda, Matabeleland South, we are left with half of the fence.

“In Matabeleland North in Lupane we had used barbed wire, but it was stolen. The thieves spared the gate.”

She said people no longer respected the dead.

“Thieves are taking advantage that our heroes’ acres are located on top of hills,” Khumalo said.

“In Gwanda there are four policemen guarding the provincial cemetery, but the thieves take advantage of the fact that the officers cannot cover the whole area at one go.”

She added: “In Lupane, the whole area has been vandalised. It is located in a bushy area where there are no hills because of the nature of the soil.”

Zanu PF provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda said the fencing of the heroes acre was necessary to protect the cemeteries from the daring thieves.

“Fencing is necessary to protect and respect the dead,” Sibanda said.

The Bulawayo City Council last year announced plans to introduce concrete grave markers in response to the vandalism of graves at its cemeteries.

The council said the concrete grave markers were more durable and of no value to the grave vandal.

A grave marker usually has details of the deceased including the name, dates of birth and death, grave number and section where one is buried.

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