Court forces Estcourt farm owner to allow family burial

2013-09-03 00:00

AN Estcourt farm owner was dealt a blow when the farm dwellers she evicted obtained a court order allowing them to bury a family member on the farm.

Shalazile Ndlovu’s funeral and burial took place without a hitch on the Wagendrift farm on Saturday. This after the court granted an order allowing her family to bury her on the contested farm, alongside her loved ones.

Ndlovu and other families were evicted on August 6 and their houses were demolished by security, forcing them to seek shelter at the municipal hall.

When Ndlovu died on August 27, her children, Cebisile, Ningi, Mthokozisi and Delani, turned to the Land Claims Court for an order allowing their mother to be buried on the farm.

Farm owner Ann Markham dismissed the ruling saying it was “grossly unfair”.

“I was told that the matter will be heard in Randburg only to know at 2 pm that it was coming to Durban. I had to run around. I was prejudiced by the urgency of the application due to the fact that it was e-mailed to my partner when I was not in the province,” said Markham.

Cebisile in her founding affidavit explained that her mother moved to the farm in 1959, while her late father was born on the farm when it was owned by the previous owner.

“My grandparents and parents worked for the other owner and in return they were allowed to stay on the farm, which is known as portion 241.

“I was also informed that they entered into a labour tenancy with the land owner. They were permitted to reside on the farm and build their homes,” said Cebisile in her affidavit.

She said they were allowed to graze livestock on the farm as well as to grow crops in a certain field for their own domestic consumption.

Her family provided labour on the farm personally and they were predominantly paid by enjoying rights on the farm as opposed to cash.

She was informed by her late mother that at any given time the maximum remuneration that she received was not more than R20 per month.

“After our grandparents passed away, family members continued providing labour to the farmer on the same terms and conditions that our grandparents enjoyed,” she said.

She said her grandparents and various family members were buried on the farm, particularly in portion 241 adjacent to their old homestead.

“Around 2008 our family together with the Mtshali, Hadebe, Khumalo and Mkhize families were relocated with the consent of the farm owner to portion 6 of the farm,” she said.

The reason for relocation was that “the land they originally occupied was far from access with the outside world by taxi and buses so the farm owner consented and agreed to relocate us”, said Cebisile.

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