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Mandla Mandela opposes reburial case

Sapa

Nelson Mandela's grandson has asked the Eastern Cape High Court to set aside an order that he return the remains of three family members to Qunu.

Mandla Mandela. (Gallo)

Former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela reburied the remains in his home village of Mvezo two years ago.

His legal representative Phillip Zilwa told the court in Mthatha that an order to move the graves back to Qunu was granted "erroneously" last week.

"This order should never have been granted in the first place," he said. "Everyone has the constitutional right to be heard in court."

He wanted the court to hear from Mandla Mandela before the order was made final.

"You don't grant an order against an absent party without letting that party know you are bringing an order against them," he said.

'Reprehensible'
David Smith, appearing for the 16 Mandela family members who brought the initial application, submitted that Mandla Mandela's behaviour had been "reprehensible".

Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela, her nephew Ndaba and niece Ndileka – all applicants in the case – were present during proceedings.

Mandla Mandela was not present.

The Mthatha High Court is expected to deliver judgment on Wednesday on whether or not an interdict forcing Mandla Mandela to return Mandela family members’ remains to Qunu will be upheld.

Makaziwe Mandela asked the court to order Mandla to return the remains on Friday. Those proceedings were held in chambers.

An interim order granting the interdict was granted, and it was decided on Tuesday that Mandla Mandela had to return the remains to Qunu by 3pm on Wednesday.

Now both parties have to file papers by 10am on Wednesday, and the court is expected to deliver judgment by midday.

No permission
Last week, the Mandela family was granted a court order compelling Mandla Mandela to return to Qunu the remains of Madiba's three children: his eldest son and Mandla Mandela's father, Makgato Mandela, who died in 2005; Mandela's first daughter Makaziwe, who died as an infant in 1948; and Mandela's second son Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969.

The Mandela relatives claim Mandla Mandela had not sought permission or even informed family members he had moved the graves.

The applicants want the reburial to happen on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, criminal charges have been laid against Mandla Mandela over the exhumation and reburial of Nelson Mandela's three children, Eastern Cape police said on Tuesday.

"Yes, I confirm a case of tampering with a grave was opened at Bityi Police Station on July 2," Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said.

Fatyela declined to reveal who laid the charge.

"A case is opened at the police station and we will now investigate that case." – Sapa

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