The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has approved a proposal to build solar farms at the city’s cemeteries.
A solar farm is an installation or area of land in which a large number of solar panels are set up in order to generate electricity.
According to the latest council minutes, the Director of Engineering Services Engineer Simela Dube explained that the project will not disturb the graves.
“These investors would maintain the grave sites and the solar panels will provide shelter for the deceased. The solar panels would be located at a height which allows free movement of people underneath without interfering with the panels.
“The general public would have unlimited access to the cemetery site. The relatives of the deceased who were buried within the cemeteries would still be able to install tombstones on the graves of their loved ones and also to partake in tombstone unveiling ceremonies,” Eng Dube was quoted in the council minutes
However, some councillors felt the project would interfere with the graves.
“In the African tradition graves were very sacred places. Erection of pillars would involve digging around graves and this would be undesirable,” said Councillor Pilate Moyo.
Councillor Donaldson Mabuto felt the proposal was good as cemeteries would be maintained and there was a need to explain this proposal to the residents.
Councillor Frank Javangwe enquired on which of the city cemeteries would be turned into solar farms as it would be prudent to pick one cemetery for a pilot project.
The Town Clerk Christopher Dube advised that prior engagements and consultation would be done with stakeholders and detailed explanations would be given.
“Indeed there were religious issues and cultural norms and beliefs that made graves sacred. All these need to be considered and addressed appropriately. The establishment of Solar Farms as envisaged would not interfere with graves and the stipulated period of 100 years grave life span would still be observed,” explained Dube.