21 June 2008

Graves should be cared for

The graves of about 25 000 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Anglo-Boer War were supposed to be renovated and maintained in terms of a memorandum of understanding signed in Pretoria in June 2005. The deal provided £800 000 over the four years, paid by the British government and private sponsors, for the renovation of Commonwealth graves at over 200 cemeteries countrywide. A further £150 000 would be made available annually thereafter for maintenance. Graves in another 130 inaccessible cemeteries would be commemorated through joint memorials. The memorandum was signed at the Heroes' Acre Cemetery in Pretoria by Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan and British High Commissioner Paul Boateng. Representatives from Australia, Canada and New Zealand were also present. Repair and maintenance of the graves had been the responsibility of the SA Heritage Resource Agency.