Mandla Mandela to fight grave court order

The Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha ruled that Mandla Mandela must return the remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children to Qunu in the Eastern Cape by 3pm on Wednesday afternoon.

But advocate Wesley Hayes, representing Makaziwe Mandela and 15 others, confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that Mandla Mandela's lawyers had once again countered the order on Wednesday afternoon. 

The graves are those of Nelson Mandela's eldest son 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.

Mandla Mandela allegedly moved the graves from Qunu to his home in Mvezo in 2011. On Friday, Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela and 15 others brought an urgent application, asking the court to force Mandla Mandela to move the remains back. Members of the Mandela family also laid criminal charges of grave tampering against him.

Mandla countered with an application, asking the court to rescind that order. But on Wednesday, Judge Lusindiso Pakade ruled that step unprocedural, adding that Mandla Mandla’s assertion that he was not made aware of the initial court application was invalid.

Pakade ordered that by 3pm on Wednesday, Mandla Mandela must exhume the remains and move them back to Qunu. If he does not, the sheriff of the court must move the remains.

Meanwhile, the M&G understands that at the heart of the urgent application filed by Makaziwe Mandela and others is the burial of Nelson Mandela; that his body should follow those of his children when he dies.

Mandla Mandela, in his affidavit to the court, stated that he could not understand the urgency of the matter.

“Nor is the tenuous link between the remains and the burial of my grandfather explained. In this regard I respectfully point out that the applicant suggested that my grandfather’s body must follow the bodies of his children who pre-deceased him.

“Precisely why this is so has not, however, been explained. I can confirm that this is not in accordance with customary law,” Mandela said.

He added that as the eldest surviving descendant of Makgato Mandela, he was entitled to decide where his father would be buried. He intended arguing this matter when his application was heard.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 


Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday