Jiff Nyoni

Furore as village head sells cemetery land

Mmeli Nyoni
MDUTSHANE VILLAGERS in Bubi District are up in arms with the village head for allegedly selling land which is supposed to be a cemetery.

They are accusing Jiff Nyoni (ABOVE) of being selfish and greedy.

Nyoni allegedly fattened his pockets by selling graveyard land, leaving villagers in a dilemma.

“In our culture, it is taboo to live right next to a cemetery,  but then it appears in this village it is not because we have people here clearing stands for construction on what is supposed to be burial grounds,” complained one villager.

The villagers said they were shocked when they discovered that Nyoni had sold burial land as they only got to know about his deals when newly resettled people were clearing the land.

A gravesite clearing.

A gravesite clearing.

“We didn’t know that we no longer had a gravesite as Nyoni had decided to sell it. We only got to know about it when new villagers came to clear it,” said a villager only identified as Moyo.

It is alleged that the total number of stands that have been unlawfully established by the village head amounts to thirteen, with some on burial grounds.

Asked about the issue of selling burial grounds, Nyoni dismissed the allegation as falsehoods.

“That is also not true. I did not turn burial grounds to settlement stands. The truth is, there is no recognised burial site for the village and it is yet to be established. Those cleared stands are near gravesites, actually those are settlement stands which other villagers have turned to a burial site,” said Nyoni.

He further dismissed the issue of unlawfully settling people saying, “It is not true that I have been resettling people here. These people have been on the waiting list and they were called when  stands were identified”, he said.

The village head claims he received six stands from the Ministry of Lands in which four stands were for applicants and the other two stands, he personally asked for his friends as a favour and the remaining seven stands cannot be clearly accounted for.

“I got six stands from the Ministry of Lands, two stands were mine I had asked  for my friends and I clearly told my friends I was going to try and secure those stands for them and after the village assembly meeting I told them I could no longer secure those stands as tensions were running high,” said Nyoni.

Mdutshane Ward 20 counsellor, Abednego Maphosa said meetings have been held in an attempt to clarify whether the allocation of land was legit.

”We have had meetings over this issue and we are trying to clarify on the legitimacy of the new settlers because it seems we are exceeding the carrying capacity of the resettlement area and that means exhausting resources.”