Johannesburg - Police were called to a farm south of Joburg at the weekend to deal with a white family who wanted to bury a relative.
Gerry Tshitangano, treasurer of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa, said the mourners arrived unexpectedly on his farm in Elandsfontein, near Walkerville, to bury their son-in-law on Friday morning.
He had stopped the proceedings, sparking an altercation between him and the family.
“The white man said he would not speak to k******s when I asked him why I wasn’t informed about the burial taking place on my farm. I felt disrespected by the man and requested the mourners to leave my property,” said Tshitangano.
“Some of the family members tried to negotiate that the burial continue, but I refused.”
He immediately asked his workers to close the grave the family had dug.
Tshitangano said the man arrived just after 7am on Friday with a few people to ensure that the grave was dug properly.
The family also brought along a tent.
“When the mourners arrived around 9am, they had to turn away with the corpse inside the hearse because I refused to have the burial taking place on the farm.”
Tshitangano, a cattle and crop farmer, said he had first seen a group of unknown people cleaning in the cemetery on Thursday afternoon while he was driving past the farm. “When I enquired about the cleaning, a man rudely replied by saying he was just cleaning,” he said.
Although Tshitangano does not live on the farm, he has three full-time employees who reside there and oversee it.
“I was told by a neighbour that not even one of this man’s relatives have been buried on the farm before,” the farmer said.
According to Tshitangano, he had asked the family to produce papers showing they had the right to bury their son-in-law on his farm. They could not provide him with the papers.
The 60-hectare farm has a cemetery with fewer than 50 graves, dating back to the 1920s and ‘30s.
The owner said this was the first such incident since he bought the land nine years ago.
“When I bought the farm, I knew there were graves and I didn’t have a problem because the cemetery is old and not in use.”
Tshitangano went to the local municipal offices and the police station, but couldn’t be helped as he didn’t have full details of the man he said was trespassing on his land.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that the police had responded to the incident.