HARARE - Harare City Council has resolved to shut Warren Hills cemetery to public burials.
The famous cemetery, where hundreds of fighters who died in key battles during the 70s liberation struggle are buried, will be used only for provincial and liberation war heroes.
From now onwards, it will serve as the final resting place for troops who died in landmark armed struggle and other provincial heroes due to shortage of burial space, according to minutes of a special council meeting.
Harare housing and community services director Mathew Marara told the housing committee that council had initially donated two hectares for the expansion of the provincial cemetery.
Harare has nine active cemeteries namely Granville A and B or kuMbudzi, Highfield, Mbare, Warren Hills, Dzivarasekwa, Greendale, Mabvuku and Pioneer.
Marara told the housing committee that Warren Hills had more than seven hectares of serviced land remaining for burial.
“The provincial heroes cemetery authorities wanted the remaining 7,2 hectares for the expansion of the provincial heroes cemetery and construction of memorials. The committee noted that the land was available on the hillside of the cemetery but was expensive to service and develop, therefore not immediately available for burial,” read the council minutes.
The housing committee also noted that as new burial sites were being scouted in the eastern, southern and northern areas of the city, residents would continue utilising Granville Cemetery for burials.
Councillor Herbert Gomba argued that council should also set aside land to honour Hararians who have contributed to the development of the city.
Councillor Girisoti Mandere also suggested that council should be compensated for the burial space by government.
But Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said since council had donated the land, they could not request compensation for goodwill.
He however, said discussions between central government and Harare should be expedited as council was in dire need of land for expansion.