clan to get land back

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

A family at Hoedspruit in Limpopo, which had been involved in a legal tussle with a local farmer over family graves, will have their land back sooner than anticipated.

This is according to Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi. She was speaking during the burial of Senios Mokoena at Welverdien Farm in Hoedspruit on Sunday.

Mabudafhasi said her department would join forces with the ministry of agriculture and land affairs and the Land Claims Commission to fast-track the expropriation of the land in which the Mokoena family had lived with the farmer.

The family, which is part of the Moretele clan, claimed the more than 7000 hectares of land that includes Hoedspruit and part of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.

The claim includes the disputed Welverdien Farm which the owner, Hannes Wessels, refused the Mokoenas to bury their father on it. The late Mokoena's body was kept in the mortuary for almost seven weeks after Wessels claimed he did not know him.

Mabudafhasi said it was time that the Mokoenas lived on their forefathers' land.

Mabudafhasi urged the Mokoenas and the entire Moretele clan to be united because their dream was about to be realised.

Acting Limpopo land claims commissioner Miyelani Nkatingi said the Moretele clan lodged the claim in August 19 1992, and was gazetted on August 20 2004.

The Limpopo Land Claims Commission ordered Wessels not to erect any further structures on the farm since it had been claimed.

But Wessels allegedly ignored the order and went on to erect other tourism structures on the farm.

He allegedly evicted the Mokoena family from the land and built a compound for them on the outskirts of the farm near a shopping mall.

This after the family claimed Wessels had auctioned their livestock without consulting them.