Suspicious family buries farm worker after four weeks

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The delayed funeral of the Limpopo farm worker who was allegedly killed on May 29 during a night game drive finally took place on Saturday.

Jackson Matlhase was buried in Taaibosch village near Alldays.

The well-attended funeral took place four weeks after the family delayed the funeral because of suspicions that he was deliberately killed by a farmer.

The family claimed they were refused entry to the mortuary to identify the body before a postmortem was conducted.

"We were refused access to identify the body," claimed the deceased's brother, Vhengani Matlhase, after the funeral. "We were also denied access to prepare the body for the funeral.

"Instead we were allowed only to see the body in the coffin before it was transferred to the village for the night vigil."

He said the family had pleaded with the departments of safety and security and of agriculture, including the leadership of the ANC in the province, to intervene but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Vhengani said they had decided to bury their loved one after the undertaker told them the body was decomposing and the bill was piling up.

The family had taken a resolution not to bury their relative before those they suspected of having killed him were arrested.

"But we have since changed our minds after realising that both the government and police were not helping us," he said.

Matlhase, a father of two, was a hunter on the game farm.

He was in the company of his cousin, who also works on the farm, and four white men when he died.

Police said Matlhase was shot and killed when a shot was accidentally fired.

The gun had allegedly gone off in the back of a bakkie, causing the bullet to hit and kill Matlhase.

His body was taken to a mortuary in Thohoyandou without the family's knowledge.

The police opened a case of culpable homicide but the family claimed he had been deliberately killed and that a case of murder should be investigated.

The funeral was attended by close to 5 000 people, including sympathetic farm workers from around Alldays.