Winnie loses court battle over Mandela Qunu home

Nelson Mandela's former home in Qunu. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Nelson Mandela's former home in Qunu. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

African National Congress (ANC) struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s application for ownership of her late former husband Nelson Mandela’s Qunu home was dismissed with costs by the Mthatha High Court on Thursday.

In his last will and testament, Mandela left the Qunu property to all members of the Mandela family as a place to unify them. The former President was married to Graça Machel when he died on December 5 2013.

Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyers filed papers during 2014 and claimed that the property had been obtained while she was married to Mandela and belonged to her in terms of AbaThembu custom.

Advocate George Bizos, one of the executors of the former president’s will, opposed the action lodged by Madikizela-Mandela. The matter was dismissed with costs.

Madikizela-Mandela was left out of Mandela’s will, which was released in February 2014.

Shortly after the court decision, the royal family of the Kingdom of AbaThembu issued a statement in which it welcomed the judgement handed down in respect of the ownership of the Qunu property.

Winnie had no need to go to court, says Mandela family
“We still believe that there was no need for Nkosikazi Nobandla Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to wait to be told by a court of law that Nkosi Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela was indeed a man of integrity who properly applied his mind before he finalised his will,” said spokesperson Daludumo Mtirara.

“We believe that Nkosikazi Nobandla Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Mandela was misled by some members of the family. We further believe that she did not receive a legal advice she mostly required. We want this judgment to be used as a frame of reference for learning purpose because we are guided by custom, tradition and trends.

“This matter should have been addressed by the Mandela royal family, if no agreement, elevated to the royal family of the Kingdom of AbaThembu. We are aware of the tasks that is before us in aligning procedures and processes to address challenges that the sister royal houses might be facing. Even though she lost the case in court, she remains a member of the Mandela royal family by virtue of her former marriage and the Mandela children that she beared. However, she must respect our traditions and the functioning of the traditional royal structures” [all sic].

Winnie Mandela’s lawyer Mvuzo Notyesi indicated afterwards that they intended appealing the decision.

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