We couldn't fetch Hammanskraal victim's spirit from his place of death - family

2016-05-29 14:58
(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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WATCH: Dead man's phone brings news of his murder

2016-05-27 15:55

Family members were called after forensics found their details in the phone of Elias Tshabalala, who was killed in Hammanskraal.WATCH

Pretoria – The family of Elias Tshabalala, one of the men killed during violent protests in Hammanskraal, say they could not perform essential traditional rituals before he was buried on Sunday.

"We asked the company to take us to where he died so that we can get his spirit but the company refused," his older brother, Sam Tshabalala, told reporters after the funeral.

"They [company officials] told us it was dangerous as people were still fighting. They said they could not risk company property for casual workers," he said.

Attempts by News24 to contact the company were unsuccessful on Sunday.

- PICS: Final farewell for Hammanskraal protest victim

People packed a tent in front of the Tshabalala household where the funeral service took place in Soshanguve outside Pretoria on Sunday morning.

The hearse for his final send-off was a modified motorbike with long windows providing a view of his coffin, on which a simple floral arrangement of pink and white flowers, contrasted with deep greenery, was placed.

Tshabalala was killed when Hammanskraal residents turned on employees of the Red Ants security company and a Pretoria-based construction and security business, which had been sent to evict them from land in the area on Monday.

A second worker, Lucky Nelushi, was also killed during the altercation with residents. Five people have been arrested, one for murder.

Perform rituals

Traditionally, the family of the deceased goes to the place where he or she was killed to perform rituals that enable them to retrieve the spirit before heading to the cemetery. The Tshabalala family was left fuming when they were not afforded the opportunity to do so.

"We are hurt that we could not follow our tradition and customs. As a family we are still going to meet to decide on how we go with this because the people we spoke to in the area told us there was no violence," said Sam.

The family resorted to breaking the calabash and performing the ritual that was supposed to be done in Hammanskraal, in front of their gate in Soshanguve, before heading to the cemetery.

They also lashed out at the security company that had hired Tshabalala and Nelushi for not keeping their end of the bargain regarding assistance for the funeral.

"They promised us groceries when we told them it was not enough, we didn't get help. We had to use our own money to add on to the food. They also promised us two taxis to transport the family but at the last minute they said the taxis had to be sent to a colleague of theirs who had a funeral," sister Thandi Tshabalala said.

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Not paid in full

Thandi added that the company then tried to go behind their backs regarding negotiations with the undertaker. They said the undertaker wanted R42 000 for the service but the company did not pay it in full.

"We were called by the undertaker and they informed us that the money was short of R5 000. We had to beg them to bury our brother and settle the amount afterwards. The company said they would pay it afterwards but we have no faith in that," said Thandi.

The family said they had been dealt a heavy blow by Elias's death as he was the sole breadwinner. His children were now left in limbo as the family didn't know how they would be able to put them through school. An older daughter is believed to be studying nursing.

"Now who is going to take his children to school? Life has really changed since his death. Elias was paying for her fees. Her future is in jeopardy now because of this company that sent him to his death," said Sam.

Nelushi's funeral is expected to be held in Venda next weekend.

Legality of order

Meanwhile, Gauteng housing MEC, Paul Mashatile, announced that evictions would stop and a committee had been set up to get to the bottom of the tragedy and clarify the legality of the eviction order.

The Kekana royal household owned some of the land and people claim they had been granted permission to live there.

Chief Lleka Jacob Kekana of the Amandebele-A-Moletlane tribe, which owns the land, denied obtaining the court order.

"I did not apply for a court order, that was not me," he said on Friday.

There were also allegations that an ANC official had sold stands on the land. The ANC vowed to look into this allegation and take strong action if the claim was proved true.

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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