Bakgatla Ba-Kgafela in the Kgatleng district have decided to go back to the old system of burying their departed families in their homesteads instead of the allocated burial places.
The move is likely to lead to another showdown between the tribal leaders and the government as the former have indicated that they will not seek permission to do what they think is right in their territory.
In an interview with The Voice, Kgosi Bana Sekai said that although it will not be compulsory, majority of the people have welcomed the move.
He said they came up with the idea as community leaders after realising that there was shortage of land in their area.
“Kgatleng is a small area and we realised that the rate at which people are dying it could be better if some can bury in their homesteads so as to save the small land that is available,” he said.
He also said that families and relatives will have the opportunity of looking after their loved ones in better way at their homes because people no longer take care of burial places.
Asked if they had approached the government and the land board, Sekai said there is no need for them to consult anyone regarding developments they do in their territory.
“Even if the government does not agree to that we will do as we wish but with land boards I hope they know the crisis that we are facing in Kgatleng regarding land shortage,’’ he said.
However Kgatleng Land Board Secretary Rosieline Kedimotse, sent a stern warning to the community of Kgatleng against implementing the idea saying it was against the law to convert land into a purpose which it was not intended for.
“People are not supposed to change land use because it is against the Tribal Land Act and those who violate that will be brought before court,’’ she said.
Efforts to get a comment from Kgatleng District Council were futile as the Council Secretary was said to be out of office at the time of going to press.