Farmer refuses to allow burial

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The Majola family took their daughter's body home for burial, but were refused permission to bury her on the farm near Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Bongiwe Majola, 28, died two weeks ago after a short illness, but when the family wanted to bury her, Jeremiah Turner refused, saying "not on my farm".

Bongiwe's 65-year-old father Mbuyiselwa Majola said they brought the corpse for burial last Friday, but had to take it back to the mortuary.

"We don't know who is going to pay all these expenses of bringing and returning the corpse and keeping it at the mortuary for so long," he said.

"I started working on this farm in 1956. I worked for his grandfather, his father and now this boy is refusing me permission to bury my daughter there."

Majola said four members of his family are buried on the farm and Turner's father did not object to the burials.

"We buried them with his blessing, but when he died things changed. His children treated us differently, but I never thought they would not allow me to bury my daughter there."

Majola said the farmer's attitude has brought so much pain to the family.

"My other daughter is supposed to get married next weekend, but I don't know what's going to happen. We can't postpone the wedding as the invitations were sent to our guests a long time ago. It's just a mess."

The farmer's action has been condemned by agriculture and environmental affairs MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu.

"According to African custom, it is anathema that there should be a wrangle over a deceased person, and I am very disturbed this matter has dragged on for a week," he said.

"We urge the parties to find an amicable solution so the Majola family can bury their beloved member with dignity."

Thabiso Mbhense, a family lawyer, said they had lodged a court application

"I am positive the court will grant us permission to bury her. It's very frustrating , but I am positive justice will be done."

Turner could not be reached for comment this week.