Kgatleng District Council will not proceed with the implementation of the recently gazetted controversial cemetery by-laws which were largely rejected by Bakgatla and their chiefs.
The by-laws which have divided the regional leadership, council, tribal authorities and other stakeholders have not gone down well with Bakgatla and their tribal leaders in general most of whom claim that the by-laws will in the long run cause conflict with Sekgatla and affect the practice of their culture.
The by-laws, gazetted on March 4, 2016 according to the council were passed in 2008 after extensive consultation, a claim refuted by the tribal administration authorities who argue that the consultation was not satisfactory.
Recently the council chairperson, Mpho Morolong took a decision to tour Kgatleng informing the tribe about the by-laws and seeking feedback.
He told The Monitor then, that the move was motivated by his belief in the principle of consultation and consensus. The Monitor can reveal that after such an industrious exercise the council has taken the decision to respect the people’s voice.
While the council together with the Land board firmly believe that the by-laws would have arrested wastage of land within cemeteries and and promoted land management among other intentions, they have come to the reality that Bakgatla have not yet warmed up to the idea which is already proving effective elsewhere.
According to the by-laws, Bakgatla were to apply for burial permits, an application which the council has a right to decline.
A burial cannot take place unless the council has issued the permit, the new by-law dictates.
Another disputable by-law was the one which
For those who were planning to bury their loved ones in their backyards, the new law says that is a no-no area. “A person shall not bury or cause to be buried, a body in a place other than a cemetery,” the by-law states. However, it further reads that, “without prejudice to this law, the council may in special circumstances authorise a burial in other places other than the designated cemetery”.
Moreover, the by-law states that, “every grave in a cemetery shall be allocated a number and the particulars of every burial shall be recorded in a register kept by the council secretary”.
The new by-law further says that no person shall erect on any grave, memorial works unless with the written permission of the council secretary and such an erection should be within the dimensions provided for by the council.
The council further states it has a right to refuse with a permit to perform such and will take down or remove any memorial work violating the set law. The by-law warns that breach of the by-law attracts a fine not exceeding P1, 000 or in default of payment, a prison term not exceeding six months.