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Row over gran's burial

By unknown | Sep 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Khangale Makhado

Khangale Makhado

The South African Council of Churches in Limpopo yesterday expressed disappointment at a farmer's insistence that a 92-year-old grandmother can only be buried on his farm after her family pays R178000.

Mukumela Tshivhula, who died in January, is yet to be buried after her family was barred from laying her to rest in the graveyard situated on the farm belonging to Henno Breytenbach near Louis Trichardt.

The dispute was later referred to the Pretoria high court where the farm owner won the case, putting paid to the Tshivhula family's dreams of burying her on the farm.

But three weeks ago Limpopo MEC for agriculture, Dikeledi Magadzi, announced what she referred to as a breakthrough after she had mediated between the family and the farmer.

Magadzi's office also said that what now remained was for the family and the farmer to agree on the burial day.

It was also agreed that the farmer and the family should refrain from talking to the press and that the department would take over that function.

SACC ecumenical secretary Reverend Mautji Pataki said it was morally unacceptable for the farmer to demand such an amount.

"What kind of society is this where individuals put demands on the dead to a point where they even make them pay unduly?

"We find no reason why Breytenbach must be paid to allow the burial of Tshivhula," said Pataki.

The amount reportedly covers the direct legal costs the farmer incurred in the high court case as well to cover the expenses of "running up and down" during the court case.

The farmer had also allegedly counted losses in terms of farm products that could not be sold because of the bad publicity he received after the case was report ed in the media.

Another cost the farmer wants reimbursed is the loss of production time after some of his workers downed tools, either in protest at the farmer's refusal to bury the old woman or otherwise.

Family spokesman Piet Sebola yesterday said the huge amount the farmer was demanding had blocked them from burying their grandmother.

Sebola said if it were not for the lack of money the "old lady would have been buried long ago".

The family is appealing for donations to help it bury her and put the matter to rest.

They have, therefore, opened an account for donations with First National Bank under the name Mukumela Tshivhula Crisis Fund.


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