Durban — A Durban advocate and environmentalist has been given the go-ahead to continue his fight to reclaim what was once the Cato Manor Indian Cemetery.
The Supreme Court of Appeal recently upheld a high court judgment which gave Kuben Samie the judicial nod to pursue his legal case.
Samie took freight company Secona Freight Logistics and the owners of the land in Cato Manor, the trustees of the Cato Manor Indian Cemetery, to court.
According to court papers, the logistics company operated a container depot for the handling, storage and repair of freight containers on the site.
Samie sought an order interdicting and restraining the company and the trust from starting new and continuing existing activities on the site, and for the imposition of certain duties and obligations on them to act as mandated in terms of environmental statutes.
In 2021 Durban High Court Judge Jacqui Henriques ruled that Samie had locus standi (legal standing) to litigate.
Samie said this week that a lot of work needed to be done as the main court matter still needed to be argued.
He said as a child he always knew the place to be a cemetery.
“Even though I do not have relatives buried there, this place is still part of our history and heritage. Some of the first Indians that settled in KwaZulu-Natal were buried here,” he said.
Samie said justice delayed was justice denied. Raj Naidoo, of Queensburgh, whose great-grandfather was buried at the site in 1928, said his relative’s tombstone was demolished in 2013.
“We were shocked when we visited the cemetery site and saw the land had been cleared to make way for the storage of shipping containers.
“How is our heritage being preserved? There’s no respect for the dead,” said Naidoo.