Families battle over graveyard

Chester Makana

The Nekhwevha clan of Tshisahulu in Limpopo was again ordered to stop burying their dead at a sacred graveyard by the Makumbane territorial council.

The family was supposed to bury Azwinndini Florence Muthanela, 45, but they were slapped with a court interdict to stop the burial.

At the centre of the row is Luambo Morris Nekhwevha and Tshisahulu chief Thivhulawi Norman Makumbane, who is mayor of Thulamela municipality.

On Friday the lawyer for the Makumbane's Sammy Netshifhefhe applied in the Thohoyandou high court for an order to stop the Nekhwevha's using the graveyard.

The order also wants the Nekhwevhas to use graves provided for ordinary people.

They want the owner of the cemetery to remove the fence around it. The application was postponed as the matter was initiated late and the Nekhwevhas' lawyer Azwimbavhi Madia wanted time to prepare.

The war between the families came into the limelight a year ago when Makumbane and an entourage entered the Nekhwevhas' cemetery removing sacred trees in the graveyard.

The root of the conflict appears to have been Makumbane's discovery that the Nekhwevhas had lodged a claim with the Nhlapo Commission contesting the legitimacy of the existing chieftaincy.

After Makumbane discovered that the Nekhwevha's were challenging his chieftaincy, he ordered them to confess that they had indeed lodged a claim.

The application will be heard today in the Thohoyandou high court.