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Officials 'barred' from burial

By Frank Maponya | 2010-02-23 00:00:00.0

The funeral of Masholane Charles Powell, former municipal manager of Modimolle in Limpopo, was marred by controversy after allegations that senior council officials were barred from attending the proceedings.

Powell, 46, was buried in his home town of Modimolle on Saturday. He died last Tuesday after a short illness.

Powell's family allegedly refused to allow council and ANC members to attend the funeral. They allegedly accused council officials of being responsible for Powell's death.

It is alleged Powell's family had told mayor Kgaretja Lekalakala, acting municipal manager Khupa Lekala, councillors Priscilla Kekana and Salamina Olifant last week not to attend the funeral.

A source told Sowetan yesterday that because of the family's instructions, municipal officials did not attend the funeral. It is alleged that roads and transport MEC Pinkie Kekana, who attended the funeral, was insulted by members of Powell's family.

But Kekana, dismissed the allegations as baseless. She confirmed that she had attended the funeral but denied that she was insulted by anyone.

Municipal spokesperson Patrick Shika confirmed that word had reached them that no municipal official would be allowed at the funeral. He said he did not attend the funeral because of meetings he had on Friday and Saturday.

Family spokesperson Charlie Morolo played down the allegations, saying he did not know of anyone who was barred from attending the funeral.