Mortuary costs soar as burial dispute drags

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Costs are piling up in the mortuary for the beleaguered Mokoena family in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, where their father's body has been lying for three weeks.

Senios Mokoena, 72, has been in a mortuary in Tzaneen after his funeral was postponed four times because of a dispute with farm owners.

The family says storage fees are spiralling out of control and these will be expected to pay no less than R1650, an amount they say they cannot afford.

None of the family members is employed and most depend on government social grants for survival.

"We expected to bury our father on Good Friday but the funeral has been postponed more than once," Beers Bango, a family representative, said yesterday.

The Mokoena family was denied the right to bury their father after the farmer, Hanes Wessels, allegedly claimed the name of the deceased did not appear on the list of people who lived on the farm.

The Mokoena and Bango families were evicted from the farm last September after a feud over the sale of the families' herd of cattle by the farmer.

The two families were dumped on the outskirts of the farm near Pick n Pay in Hoedspruit.

The incident happened barely seven months after another Limpopo farmer in Venda refused the Tshivhula family permission to bury their grandmother on his farm, saying he did not want any graves on his farm.

Maruleng municipal manager Refilwe Ramothwala said the municipality had been unable to get hold of the farmer and it was rumoured he was abroad.

"We have spoken to the farmer's lawyer, who said he was also unable to get hold of him," Ramothwala said.

MEC for local government Dikeledi Magadzi has ordered the Limpopo Land Claims Commission to start talks with the farmer and the family to resolve the impasse.