By Thakira Desai
With intentions to sell a pocket of prime land on the Tana Baru cemetery threatening to divide a local Muslim family, certain members of the family remain resolute that erven 677 and 681 will be sold. The family members are adamant that the land in question does not form part of the historically documented Tana Baru cemetery. The sale by public auction of the two erven of what is regarded as sacred land on the oldest Muslim cemetery in South Africa was recently cancelled by the Claremart Auction Group. The auction house called off the sale earlier this month, stating that it cannot proceed with the auction of a property whose ownership is under dispute. Members of the Abdullah family had contracted Gideon Truter Attorneys to assist with the sale.
Despite the Muslim Judicial Council declaring the Tana Baru as waqf land in 1973, the heritage status of the land is yet to be ratified by the courts. The land is believed to have been handed to Abbas Abdullah Doutie by heirs of Imam Samodien in 1975, for reasons not confirmed.
Certain members of the Abdullah family have affirmed that their father, Abbas Abdullah Doutie, had intentions to sell the land.
VOC News recently visited the land with the daughter of Abbas Abdullah Doutie, Faieza Manan (Nee Abdullah), who explained that the family’s land does not form part of the Tana Baru site.
“Our papers that we have don’t state that its waqf [ground], its private property – this is our haq [right].
“Mr. Truter asked me – our attorney – ‘who gave you people this property, do know this is prime property? Wow, you are rich people’.”
Manan said the family will not give up its right to sell what they believe to be rightly theirs.
“Our papers state that it’s not Tana Baru, its Signal Hill. So my point of view is that if we get a buyer, we are going to sell it, because we don’t fall under Tana Baru.”
But, upon inspecting the land with the spokesperson for the Tanu Baru Trust, Mohammad Groenewald, VOC News was shown numerous graves on the land said to form part of the Tana Baru.
Based on records by well known Cape historian Dr Achmat Davids, which was documented in his book The History of the Tana Baru, the two erven are said to have been kept in a trust by Imam Samodien for the Muslim community. According to Dr David’s research, the land was not included in Imam Samodien’s will.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW: VOC News reporter Thakira Desai speaks to Faieza Manan (Nee Abdullah) and the spokesperson for the Tanu Baru Trust, Mohammad Groenewald.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the children of Abbas Abdullah Doutie’s son, Sulaiman, said they do not wish to proceed with the sale of the erven.
Fagmia Jackson Abdullah, the wife of the late Ismail Abdullah, one of the children of Sulaiman, previously explained that Sulaiman’s children had intent to proceed with selling the land.
Fagmia said on upon visiting the land recently, the siblings realized that the land in question is sacred and houses numerous graves.
The siblings subsequently confirmed that they would be willing to hand the Land to the Tana Baru Trust.
“We the Abdullah children, children of the late Sulaiman Abdullah, do not want to be part of the sale that is happening with the other part of the family,” a statement by members of the Abdullah family confirmed.
LISTEN: VOC News recently spoke to Fagmia Jackson Abdullah about the wishes of Sulaiman Abdullah’s children