A severe sewage and industrial effluent spill at the Kroonstad Concentration Camp Cemetery in Kroonstad in the Free State Province was brought to Heritage Foundation’s attention on 25 February 2020.
The Foundation subsequently visited the site on 27 February 2020. The cause of the spill is a broken sewerage pipe approximately 20 meters from the southern boundary of site that resulted in flooding of the western half of the cemetery. The local Kroonstad Municipality were attending to the broken pipe on the day.
The Heritage Foundation reported the incident to the South African Heritage Resources Agency Burial Grounds and Graves Unit (SAHRA BGG) on 4 March 2020, also requesting their assistance in this matter. The SAHRA BGG manager, Ms. Mimi Seetelo, immediately responded to the Heritage Foundation’s request, indicating that they “intend to do a site visit before the end of the week. The purpose of our site visit is to ascertain more information and act on the matter”.
The Heritage Foundation appreciates the SAHRA BGG’s prompt response to this issue. We also feel strongly that with proper planning and cooperation between entities like the Foundation and SAHRA BGG, sites such as the Kroonstad Concentration Camp Cemetery can contribute significantly to social cohesion and nation building.