A father’s estate belongs to the children, Palapye customary court tells greedy aunts
Two traditional aunts could not believe their ears when Palapye customary court ruled that their nieces must inherit a plot that belonged to the girls’ late stepmother. “I’m going to appeal. How can they be given the plot, which belonged to their stepmother?
Their mother was never married to my brother,” said the furious 56 -year old Sekgola Kgotlaesele, after Kgosi Masego Olebile’s ruling. According to the facts brought before the court, the late Gaedupe Morris had his own plot in Moletamane but when he married Mankga Morris the couple settled in her plot at Lotsane ward. The couple died before they had any children. After her husband’s death, Mankga loccupied the plot until she also died.
The aunts were dragged to court by one of their nieces, 35 –year- old Patricia Magolatseleng, who wanted the court to assist her and her sister, Kelotsositse, Ogolotse, 31, to evict her cousins and recover the P45, 000 they had already collected in rentals since the death of their stepmother.
Mankga’s family representative, Tumelo Koorutwe said that although the plot was initially their daughter’s they had handed it to Morris’ family because Mankga had become a “ Morris” through marriage. “I don’t know why they didn’t sort this issue at home after all they don’t deny that these are Gaedupe’s daughters,” he said.
Passing his judgment Kgosi Olebile said, “The yard was handed to Gaedupe’s family after Mankga died and the defendants don’t deny that these are Morris’ daughters. I won’t trace the whereabouts of the money but I will write to the landboard to instruct them to change the names on the certificate from Mankga Morris to Patricia Magolatseleng.”
Hearing the verdict, Kgotlaesele lost her cool, pointed an accusing finger at her neices’s mother, Rebecca Magolatseleng and shouted; “This yard cannot be given to this woman! It’s another woman’s yard.”
Asked for her opinion on who the rightful heir to Gaedupe’s estate should be, Kgotlaesele, whose children had occupied some of their late uncle’s houses and found tenants for others, Kgotlaesele said, “Since the couple didn’t have children together, Mankga and Gaedupe’s families are the rightful heirs.
Kgotlaesele’s sister Dikhomone Motlhagodi was also adamant that her nieces had no right to their late stepmother’s yard. “I don’t know why she wants the yard when her mother wasn’t married. If the late couple had children together we wouldn’t be here,” she had said before bursting out into laughter during the hearing, forcing the chief to warn her to take court proceedings seriously.
She further expressed her displeasure after the case.
“I’m not happy at all. We want to erect tombstones for the late couple and I know this girl will not do that. We wanted to sell the plot and use the money for that,” she said and added; “Our children live there as caretakers.”