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Mandla Mandela to go back to court over graves debacle

Mandla Mandela's attempt to have a court order, compelling him to move the graves of three of Nelson Mandela's children from Mvezo to Qunu overturned, is scheduled to be heard in the Eastern Cape High court in Mthatha on Thursday.

Gary Jansen, Mandla's attorney, explained that this rescission application was filed earlier this month. But it was not urgent, and was therefore set down for Thursday.

But the Mail & Guardian understands that Mandla's aunt, Makaziwe Mandela, and 15 others have filed lengthy opposing papers, and that the matter is unlikely to be heard until next year.

Earlier this month, the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha ruled that Mandla had to move the graves of Thembekile, Makgato and Makaziwe Mandela back to Qunu, where they were initially buried.

In 2011, Mandla Mandela moved the graves to his home at Mvezo. In court papers, he claimed that he had a right to decide where Makgato, his father, should be buried.

But Makaziwe Mandela, successfully approached the courts to return the remains on June 28 this year. She accused Mandla of trying to "force" Nelson Mandela's eventual burial site, and the inevitable shrine that would accompany it, from Qunu to Mvezo. She claimed that he wanted to make money out of the former statesman's death.

Mandla Mandela strongly denied the claims and said that the "tenuous" links his aunt made between the location of the graves and Nelson Mandela's burial were questionable.

On July 3, Mandla disobeyed a court order to move the graves back. The sheriff of the high court broke down the gate to Mvezo Great Place in Mandla's absence and the graves were subsequently returned.

While Mandla Mandela initially said, at a press conference on July 4, that he would not approach the courts for a remedy again, the M&G has learnt that his most recent rescission application applies to the first order granted on June 28.

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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. 

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