Winnie loses appeal in battle for Madiba’s Qunu homestead

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has lost her claim to former president Nelson Mandela’s Qunu homestead, in a decision handed down on Friday by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

The SCA dismissed the appeal regarding the review application, but upheld an appeal against the costs order granted by the Eastern Cape Local Division, Mthatha.

Madikizela-Mandela approached the SCA to overturn a 2016 decision by the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha, which dismissed her application to acquire Mandela’s home in Qunu.

The former president’s ex-wife believes a decision taken by the Minister of Land Affairs on November 16, 1997, in which the land was donated to the former president, should be set aside.

She claims that the property was built on land allocated to her in 1989, and she has maintained that she only discovered in 2014 that the property was registered under Mandela’s name.


Madikizela-Mandela’s attorney, Mvuzo Notyesi, had previously said she “maintains that the property is rightfully hers”, but the Royal House of Mandela has rejected Madikizela-Mandela’s claim to the property.

Notyesi said the High Court in Mthatha had judged the matter on technicalities, and not on its merits.

According to Notyesi, AbaThembu custom dictated that the rights to the property should go to Madikizela-Mandela and her descendants, irrespective of whether the wife was divorced or not.

Chief of the Royal House of Mandela, Mandla Mandela, said the ruling honoured Madiba’s final wishes that the Qunu residence be managed by the executors of his estate. When Mandela died in December 2013, he was married to Graca Machel.

In his will‚ Mandela bequeathed the property to the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust for the benefit of the Mandela family‚ including his third wife Machel and her children.

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