Land fight may lead to exhumation

Graveyard in Molepolole. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Graveyard in Molepolole. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE

MOLEPOLOLE: A Molepolole family may be forced to exhume the bones of their patriarch should the Land Tribunal rule in favour of the businessman who claims ownership to a piece of land the old man is buried in.

Businessman Clement Kgosiemang told Mmegi that the Mokopotsa family buried their father Gaorutwe Mokopotsa on the piece of land “even though the magistrates’ court had ruled in my favour”.  Kgosiemang explained he bought the piece of land from one Kgopolo Thipa, who has since died. The field is located at Ratlhomelang ward and had proper papers, said the businessman.

“Thipa transferred the plot to me in 1995 before he died. However in 2008 the VDC erected a fence around my plot and built a toilet. Although I advised them that they were encroaching on my land, they refused to remove the structures, thus I approached the magistrates’ court, which issued an eviction order against them. They would not comply with the result then I applied for contempt of court against the VDC chairperson who the court sent to jail for 16 weeks,” he said.

It was only then, that they removed the fence, but not the toilet, he said. That was in 2008. Kgosiemang argues that neither the Mokopotsa family nor the VDC ever owned the plot that they claim is theirs as they were allocated a field “some six or seven kilometres away” in Mokgopeetsana. Kgosiemang has previously said he believes the Land Board played dirty tricks as it issued a lease to the Mokopotsa family in 2008 “but backdated it to 1982”.  He contends the family is itching for a fight, when all he needs is his plot.

“When they buried the old man on that piece of land, they did it against the court order, and I may still apply for contempt,” he said.  The magistrates’ court had also sent the matter back to the Land Board for arbitration.

“The Land Board ruled in favour of the family and the community, hence my taking the matter to the Land Tribunal,” he explained.

The Mokopotsa family on the other hand insists that the area that Kgosiemang has since fenced off belong to the community, and that it was in that knowledge that they buried their father who died in 2013. Recently the Mokopotsa family lost its matriarch, and Gaorutwe’s wife Mmanabi. Her children wanted to bury her next to her husband, but could not owing to the fact that the Land Tribunal is yet to make a ruling. “We approached the High Court in an attempt to get permission to bury mother next to father. However the court ruled we would have to wait for the ruling of the land tribunal,” said Ratlhomelang ward kgosana and Mmanabi’s son Mookodi Mokopotsa.

The family buried her in Gamodubu, about 20 kilometres from Molepolole

“As things stand, we shall await the Land Tribunal’s ruling and whatever the outcome we shall meet as a family to chart the way forward,” he said.

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