A family who wrenched the body of their daughter from her husband and buried her more than 1000km away in the Eastern Cape have been ordered to bear the cost of exhuming her.
Bonginkosi Magobolo of Tembisa, in Ekurhuleni, has been given the right to bury his sweetheart at any district and cemetery of his choice.
A Johannesburg high court judge yesterday endorsed the argument of lawyer Prince Phalane, representing Magobolo, that his in-laws had no right to bury his wife without his permission and presence.
Magobolo had a fallout with his sister-in-law Noluthando Malima after suspicions that he had strangled his wife Thobeka Malima in September last year. He was charged with murder. Noluthando Malima and other family members removed her sister's body and took it to Nkosi Flame Funeral Parlour in Enhlazeni Section, Tembisa.
Magobolo then instructed lawyer Phalane to obtain a court order preventing the Malimas from burying his common-law wife. The order was granted on October 3, but two days later the Malimas buried the corpse in Khetekile village in the Eastern Cape.
Yesterday the court gave Magobolo permission to exhume and rebury his wife's remains at a place of his choice. Magobolo was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Phalane told Sowetan: "My client had the right to bury the woman because they were married. The respondents were also in contempt of court."
Phalane argued that Magobolo and his son were unable to perform traditional rituals because of the distance between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
Now Noluthando Malima, together with Nkosi Flame Funeral Parlour, have been ordered to pay the costs of exhumation and transportation.
The two respondents, who did not oppose the matter, were not present during yesterday's proceedings. They also face a possible charge of being in contempt of court.
Phalane said after exhuming the body an autopsy would be conducted in order to dispel the rumours that his client had strangled the deceased.
"The autopsy report is going to be key to our defence," Phalane said.