Letlhakeng widower Tsitego Mariri had the shock of her life when he was told that her husband who died in 1992 would be exhumed to make way for a sewage pipe.
For more than 20, his husbands’ final resting place was among family members and relatives in the family compound. For the first time in 22 years, she had to face the prospect of his husband being buried in a public burial site, far from his loved ones.
Thanks to the expert persuasion by government officials, Mariri finally came round and gave them the go ahead.
“Although we want developments to come to our village, it was not an easy decision to make. It is very difficult to come to terms with such a proposal.”
Government had to present the uncomfortable proposal to close to 40 families of Letlhakeng, a traditional and rural backwaters west of Molepolole. Letlhakeng Senior Chief, Kgosi Itsoseng Gaoonwe confirmed that “it is true that about 39 bodies will be exhumed and reburied at the public cemeteries.”
He explained that the exhumation comes after a number of families were affected by the major developments that are currently taking place, that include a sewage line, street lights and internal roads.
Gaoonwe said after it emerged that some families had buried their relatives in their homes, a task team was formed to consult the affected families and provide professional counseling. He explained that it was not easy for affected families because this was the first time the village had to deal with such a situation.
“At first there were mixed reactions among villagers but through proper consultation everything went well and affected families gave the green light to the task team,” he said. “It is not yet clear when the exercise will be start as consultation with affected families is still ongoing and is expected to end sometime this week” he said. Gaoonwe assured the public that the council will engage experts to carry out the exercise. He said the thirty-nine bodies will be reburied at the public cemeteries. Letlhakeng Council Chairman, Friction Leuwee also confirmed the exhumation.
“I am expecting a report from the task team sometime this year and this will determine the next step,” he said.
Area Member of Parliament, Liekat Kablay on the other hand complained that he was never informed about the planned exercise. “It is unfortunate that I was not informed about the exhumation that will take place in my village. This amounts to sabotage as the area MP,” said Kablay.