Alex Matlala

After five weeks of waiting to bury their father the Mokowena family in Limpopo is now taking the matter to court.

The Mokoena family of Hoedspruit filed an application with the Land Claims Commission in Randburg, Gauteng, on Friday to force Hannes Wessels, a farmer, to allow the funeral to take place.

The family said they had tried every reasonable approach with Wessels, owner of the farm Welverdiend.

The family even called on Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi to intervene, but they are still in a stalemate with the farmer.

Family spokesman Beers Bango said the family was still waiting for the release of a court date to meet with Wessels .

"We hope we will all be given a chance in court to explain our historical background and then let the court make a decision," Bango said.

The wrangle between Wessels and the Mokoena family started on March 17 when Senios Mokoena died on the farm.

Mokoena was born in 1936 on the farm and went to work in Gauteng in the early 1960s.

When he left the farm Wessels' father made a list of 78 people living there and Senios Mokoena's name was among them, but on the day of his death the farmer claimed his name was not among those who lived there.

The farmer produced a list of 76 people he said had been verified when the list was made.

Matters came to a head when the family told Wessels that they were going to bury Mokoena on the farm. On the day of the funeral Wessels closed the gates and hired a private security company to stop the funeral from taking place. It has been postponed four times.

The Maruleng local municipality in Hoedspruit called on the national department of Environmental Affairs, ANC Mopani, provincial department of agriculture and local government and Housing to intervene but without success .

Maruleng municipality's Refilwe Ramothwala said the farmer had barred all negotiations with him and transferred all queries to his lawyer, Adrian Voster, who has also refused to discuss the matter.