DISTURBING the dead is culturally forbidden, but drug addicts from Scottburgh on KZN’s south coast don’t care.

They’re going the extra mile to find a special ingredient for their whoonga pipes.

Residents claim the drug addicts sneak into the Scottburgh Cemetery at night to steal the ashes of cremated bodies!

Residents living near the cemetery said the sickening practice has been going on for a number of months now.

“The cemetery is not fenced or guarded so it’s easy for anyone to gain access.

“We’ve heard whoonga addicts frequent the place to steal ashes. Even though I’ve never personally caught them, almost everyone from the area knows about this thing,” said Nkosi Mkhungo (34).

Another resident, Mathu Chili (41) said if it’s true it was disgusting and needed to be urgently attended to by the relevant authorities. When the SunTeam visited the cemetery on Sunday, they found the compartments where the ash remains were stored broken, with broken containers and plastic bags lying on the ground.

Ashes were left scattered on the ground and footprints on the grass nearby showed the area was visited frequently.

KZN police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said no one has come forward to report the matter to police.

“We’ve never had such cases in the province before. However, we strongly encourage the relevant authorities to report to us so the matter can be investigated.”

Dr Velaphi Mkhize, a cultural expert, said the culprits were spitting on the African culture and abandoning their morals.

“This place should be treated with respect.

“Culturally speaking, it’s believed that disturbing the dead may bring bad luck to those doing it.”