"With this in mind, Johannesburg City Parks is talking to the Chamber of Mines about taking over disused mineshafts to be used as catacombs - underground galleries...as were common in Roman times," the paper said.
Local Health Department statistics showed that five years ago, there was a birth rate of 28 per 1 000 people and a death rate of 14 per 1 000.
This year the birth rate dropped to 19.5 per 1 000 while the death rate rose to 19 per 1 000.
The city was also making provisions for the acquisition of an additional 1 000 hectares of new land for cemeteries and apart from mineshafts, were also investigating other alternative methods of burial.
These included freeze-drying by means of liquid nitrogen, mausoleums (above-ground cemeteries), mass graves and multiple burials.
Upright burial or the trench system was also being looked at, while cremation currently accounts for six percent of all internment methods, the report said.
cemeteries were sprouting up around squatter camps, which fringe the city's
boundaries, the paper said.
"This is causing enormous social and environmental problems because the corpses are not being buried properly and with the first rains bodies are being exposed to children and dogs.
"Another problem with the shallow graves is that the bodies are vulnerable - they are easily dug up for body parts, used to make 'muti' (traditional medicine) by witchdoctors," the report said.
About five million