Gweru City Council employees who dig graves at the local authority’s cemeteries are exposed to blood flowing from dead bodies who would have been recently buried, a senior council official has revealed.
Speaking on Wednesday during a budget consultation meeting, assistant finance director, Owen Masimba made the shocking revelations after residents had quizzed council on the new burial fees in next year’s budget.
“You may wonder how we arrived at the new burial fees in next year’s budget tariffs,”he said.
“We consider a lot of things in coming up with the cost of a grave. Besides maintaining and replacing the tools grave diggers use, they have to be equipped with protective clothing particularly during this rainy season when blood drips from other graves into nearby fresh ones being dug.”
In recent years council had to buy a de-watering pump to pump water out of graves after stakeholders recently raised concern that cemetery workers were being exposed to health risks as they scooped water out of graves with buckets.
Last year Ward 13 councillor, Catherine Mhondiwa raised the issue at a full council meeting saying there was need to buy protective clothing for the workers as they were scooping water from graves using bare hands.
It had emerged that workers at cemeteries had gone for years operating without gloves, gumboots and masks exposing them to health hazards.
The graves water logging at the local authority’s cemeteries becomes a common sight particularly during the rainy season.