/ 4 July 2013

Mandla won’t challenge court ruling on Mandela grave sites

There's high drama at the Mandela household. Where does Mandla get his power
There's high drama at the Mandela household. Where does Mandla get his power

"I was denied the right to be heard. I will not challenge this further, it will serve no purpose," Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday in Mvezo.

"In the past few days I have been the subject of attacks from all sorts of individuals wanting a few minutes of fame and media attention at my expense."

Mandla Mandela said he was disappointed by Wednesday's court decision and was convinced it was erroneous. He said he wanted to talk about the real reasons why the matter emerged and why his family had turned against him.

"This is the very family who has taken their own grandfather to court for his money. I called this press conference so that I could address a few matters circulating in the media."

He was referring to the court case by Mandela's two daughters, Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Dlamini, to have the directors of companies set up to manage royalties from the sale of Nelson Mandela's artworks removed from their posts.

The Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha on Wednesday dismissed Mandla Mandela's application to halt the exhumations of Mandela's three children. Mandla Mandela exhumed and moved the remains of the three from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011.

A group of Mandela family members approached the court to have the remains exhumed and moved back to the family graveyard in Qunu. They were removed on Wednesday.

No instructions
On Wednesday, Mandla Mandela insisted in court papers that he would not interfere with Nelson Mandela's burial site unless there was no specific instruction in the former statesman's will regarding where he wanted to be buried.

This is contrary to Makaziwe Mandela and others' claim that Nelson Mandela's last will and testament states that he wants to be buried in Qunu.

But he claimed that the "urgency" set out in Makaziwe's affidavit – that Nelson Mandela's health was "perilous" – was "simply non-existent". The affidavit states that Nelson Mandela is on life support.

Mandla Mandela told the court on Wednesday: "The burial place will be determined by his [Nelson Mandela's] last will and testament. If there are no express directions in that document the duty falls on me as the eldest surviving male descendent."

But Mandla Mandela said he would only exercise that right with discretion with advice from other relevant persons including Graça Machel, various royal houses, and the South African government. – Additional reporting by Sapa