SCA ruling clears up traditional burial dispute
The SCA has ruled that a Northern Cape family has a right to bury a relative on a farm the deceased did not live on, notes a TimesLIVE report.
Madgelena de Wee was buried two years ago after the Land Claims Court ruled that her family had a right to bury her at her family’s ancestral graveyard on Middel-Plaas.
However Sandvliet Boerdery (Pty) Ltd, the owner of the land, argued that she did not live on the farm the family eventually buried her on.
De Wee’s relative Maria Mampies and her husband Hendrick Mampies approached the Land Claims Court seeking the declaration of their rights under the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (Esta) 62 of 1997, which deals with the right to bury.
The Land Claims Court found that the Mampies family had complied with the provisions of Esta as they were family members of the deceased and ‘had established that it was in accordance with their religious and cultural beliefs for the deceased to be buried in the Middel-Plaas graveyard’.
In the SCA judgment, the court found that ‘it is clear from the respondents’ affidavits that their burial practices and the location of their family graves near where they live form a vital part of their religion and their day-to-day lives’.
‘Once granted, the permission to bury could not be unilaterally withdrawn, either by the original grantor of the permission or his successors in title, including the appellant which was aware of the existence of the graveyard when it purchased Middel-Plaas in June 2015,’ the SCA ruled.
The court contended that despite the fact that De Wee had been buried two years ago, the appeal involved ‘a discreet legal issue of public importance that affects matters in the future’.
© Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd 2016
Article disclaimer: Juta expressly reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to alter or amend any criteria or information set out in this article without notice. Accordingly, any information, including journalistic articles, are not intended to constitute legal, financial, accounting, tax, investment, consulting or other professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action based on the information contained in this article, which decision or action might affect your personal finances or business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.