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Opponents turn to courts to prevent funeral

Royal feud scuppers chief's burial

Acting chief Joe Photani Mulamula died at Polokwane Hospital after a short illness.
Acting chief Joe Photani Mulamula died at Polokwane Hospital after a short illness.
Image: Supplied

A bitter royal dispute has led to the suspension of the burial of a Limpopo traditional leader.

The royal feud over the leadership of the Mulamula Traditional Council in Malamulele, Limpopo, is set to be heard in the Limpopo High Court next month.

Two factions have emerged in the royal family. One faction comprises those who support Hasani Thomas Mulamula, who led the community from 1977 to 2019 when Mdungazi Joseph Maluleke was declared the rightful chief and given a certificate of recognition by premier Chupu Mathabatha.

On April 11, the acting chief, Joe Photani Mulamula, died at Polokwane Hospital after a short illness.

He was the reigning chief in the area covering Muswane, Dumela, Nhombelani and Mulamula-Magangeni areas.

Mulamula royal family spokesperson Dyson Maluleke Dumela announced that the late chief would be buried at Dumela this Friday. The funeral service will be held at the local Bowline Hotbeans soccer team sports ground.

But soon after the announcement, the rival royal family that still pays allegiance to the former chief Thomas Mulamula was seething with anger and said the late leader should not be buried in the village.

“We do not have a dead person by the name of hosi Joe Photani Mulamula in our area. We know someone who is my uncle but who resides at Shitlhelani village. The government will be making a mistake if they bury him in the area and since we are going to court on May 6, if we emerge victorious we will come back and exhume the body,” said Chris Mulamula, the royal family spokesperson who does not recognise the reigning chief in the area.

Several other royal family members paying allegiance to the former leader were this week mobilising the community to oppose the chief’s burial. However, spokesperson Dyson Maluleke Dumela shot down the opposition.

“They can go to hell. I doubt the sanity of those who mix leadership claims and the burial of a leader who has passed on,” he said.

He said the preparatory committee involved members of the royal family, the department of cooperative governance, housing and traditional affairs and the South African Police Service.

“So far everything is going on smoothly,” he said.

Limpopo MEC for cooperative governance, housing and traditional affairs Basikopo Makamu urged members of the royal family to temporarily bury the hatchet and focus on giving the late chief a dignified burial. Mukurukuru Media

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