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Drama at illegal miner’s burial

They fired several shots while hurling insults, sending mourners into a state of pandemonium in Ketanyane, Ha-Mothibe, in Mohale’s Hoek. The gunshots were followed by the blowing of vuvuzelas, and the sound of famo music from the accordion.

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The Seakhi members had come to bury one of their own, Thakabanna Makoae, 20, who was shot and killed at a disused gold mine in South Africa earlier this month.
Makoae was a member of the zama-zamas, illegal miners, who operate in disused South African mines.

It was a chaotic funeral that has now seen several members of the Seakhi gang being arrested by the police.
The Ketanyane Area Chief, Chieftainess ’Matieho Ramoroba, confirmed the arrests adding that apart from the usual hurly-burly during the gangsters’ burial, the bereaved family had its own squabbles.

The Seakhi members who were standing close to the casket containing the lifeless body of Makoae were openly flaunting their guns, unfazed by fears that security agents could be present at the burial.

“We were all gripped by fear,” Chieftainess Ramoroba told thepost.
“What added to our fears were the insults they were hurling,” she said.

Chieftainess Ramoroba said the family was fighting over the right to bury Makoae.
She said she issued a letter allowing his father to bury him but his sister had also obtained another letter from the Mohale’s Hoek District Administrator’s office.

The sister, she said, was the one who buried Makoae at a site unallocated by the chief’s office.

Chieftainess Ramoroba said she personally allotted land for the burial of Makoae to his father.

“I do not know who allotted the land to the sister of the deceased,” she said.

Makoae’s body was taken to the sister’s home on arrival from South Africa, where the funeral was held the next day.
The father did not attend the ceremony.

She said the famo gangsters dug the grave and the villagers were afraid to go and assist.
Chieftainess Ramoroba said the villagers had no option but to cover up the other grave they had dug, where the father had been given permission to bury his son.

Chieftainess Ramoroba said the father of the deceased had abandoned the family for years and never cared for them.
So the daughter was wondering why he wanted to bury her brother.

Chieftainess Ramoroba said faced with the heart-wrenching scenario, she called the police to help but the answer was a firm no.

“The police told us that they could not stick their nose in family issues,” she said.

However, on their way from the funeral, several gangsters were arrested by the police.

“I do not know why they were arrested but they did a lot of things on their way to the funeral,” Chieftainess Ramoroba said.

She said her subjects were afraid to attend the funeral service.

She said she also informed the Principal Chief of Thaba-Tšoeu of the unfolding developments in the area who advised her to bring the situation under control.

The Principal Chief of Thaba-Tšoeu, Chief Nohana Lebona, said he is aware of the pandemonium at the burial.
He said he told Chieftainess Ramoroba that he should allot a burial site to the father of the deceased.

“I said she should do so regardless of whether he had raised him or not,” Chief Lebona said.

“Those people have been arrested now,” he said.

Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Kabelo Halahala said he was not aware of the incident.

Majara Molupe

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