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Mandelas split over Madiba's burial site - reports

Sapa, Staff Reporter

Gauteng papers have reported that Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla stormed out of a meeting in Qunu after a disagreement over Madiba's gravesite.

Mandla Mandela. (AFP)

Three sources told the Star that the Mandela family was torn between Mandla Mandela, who wants Mandela buried at his birthplace in Mvezo, and the rest, who felt that Madiba's wish to be buried next to his children should be respected.

The Star reported on Wednesday that a Mandela family meeting held in Qunu on Tuesday was to discuss a "significant" family matter.

The meeting was attended by the family, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

The Times reported that a group of elders planned to fly to Gauteng to assess the critically ill Mandela and decide what to do.

It reported that the meeting on Tuesday focused on Mandela's health and the moving of the family graves from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011. The graves were moved by Mandla Mandela.

The Times reported that the family wanted the graves of three of Mandela's children – his deceased sons Makgatho and Thembekile and his daughter Makaziwe – to be in Qunu.

The newspaper reported that it understood a fuming Mandla Mandela, who moved the graves without consulting the family, stormed out of the meeting.

Mandla Mandela could not be reached for comment.

Purpose of the family meeting
Meanwhile, Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement and friend of Mandela and his family, denied talk that the Mandela family meeting in Qunu on Tuesday was called to discuss the logistics surrounding Mandela's condition.

"The purpose of the meeting was to brief the elders about Mandela's condition. With some family members living in Johannesburg and others in the Eastern Cape, it becomes important to make sure everyone is kept up to speed with the developments. One does not want to leave the elders behind.

"They were not given any additional details on Mandela's condition. They were told exactly what President Jacob Zuma has told the nation ... And it was not a shock to them. They have been monitoring his health and have been reading the newspapers," he said. The meeting finished at around 3pm.

Holomisa stressed that the meeting did not include talks about Mandela's funeral or any logistical issues surrounding his ailing health. He said Mandela's funeral plans remained the responsibility of government as he is a former president.

"The family in Johannesburg will continuously update the elders in the Eastern Cape. For example, when Mac Maharaj first announced that Mandela was rushed to hospital, Makaziwe [Mandela] flew down to Qunu to brief the elders. I think she is showing leadership in that respect," Holomisa said.

He said that on Tuesday afternoon, the Mandela elders were briefed on "exactly" what the presidency told the world in its communiqués on Mandela's health.

Holomisa said the meeting was attended by the Mandela elders, Mandela's daughter, Makaziwe, his grandson, Mandla Mandela, and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

No 'emergency' meeting
Mandela remains critical and Holomisa stressed that the elders of the Mandela family were not given any more insights into his health than what the public had been told.

Holomisa denied speculation that the meeting was an "emergency" one, rather, he told the Mail & Guardian that it was held with the sole purpose of briefing the elders of the Mandela family on the latest developments surrounding Mandela's health. – Sapa, Staff reporter

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