Child laid to rest after funeral fracas

Mhlaba Memela

A grieving family and a farm community were left reeling in horror after a farmer called the police to stop the funeral of a one-year-old child.

Werney de Lager allegedly arrived with a contingent of police to force the family to remove the coffin of Nokwanda Mazibuko from Koningburg farm in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.

The family claims to have lived on the farm for more than 30 years.

After much scuffling between the family and the police, the deceased was buried at the farm.

Family spokesman Petros Tsotetsi, 37, said the police threatened to exhume the body because they did not have a permit to bury their dead on the farm.

Tsotetsi said: "I had informed De Lange about our loss, but he showed no interest.

"I made it clear that a child was going to be buried on Wednesday at home."

He said that this was not the first time the farmer had barred them from burying their deceased on the farm.

"My mother passed away in July. Police and De Lange kicked her corpse," he said.

"My mother's wish was to be buried in our yard, but they failed to respect her dying wishes.

"We were forced to bury her 50km away," he said.

Riana de Jager, police spokesman, said police were called in to calm the situation.

"Police were there to explain to them that the farmer told them [the police] that the family was not allowed to bury their child on the farm," she said.

De Jager said police wanted to make sure that there was no physical confrontation between the family and the farmer.