Complaint to be lodged against Mandela lawyers

2013-07-06 15:29

A complaint will be lodged against the Mandela family’s lawyers for misleading the courts on the condition of former president Nelson Mandela’s health, Mandla Mandela’s lawyer has said.

“We still need to formalise the complaint but certainly on my client’s side he has instructed me to lay a complaint both to the Law Society and the bar council,” Mandla Mandela’s lawyer Gary Jansen said today.

“We just have instructions to do that, but we have not submitted the complaint.”

The complaint relates to an affidavit submitted by the members of the Mandela family in an application to exhume the remains of Mandela’s children.

“The point is they applied to court as a matter of urgency and they relied on certain affidavits in particular with regards to the health of the president which wasn’t true,” Jansen said.

“We feel it should be investigated further.”

Jansen said the Mandela family’s lawyers had used the affidavit to mislead the court.

He said a formal complaint would be lodged by Monday morning.

The complaint would be lodged with the Easter Cape Bar Council and the Cape Law Society against the instructing attorney and the advocate representing the Mandela family.

The certificate of urgency dated June 26 and submitted to the Eastern Cape High Court was widely reported on by local and international media.

In it, an advocate for the Mandela family said he had been advised by his instructing attorney that Mandela’s condition had “taken a turn for the worst (sic) and that the Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machines should be switched off”.

“Rather than prolonging his suffering the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability.”

The document was attributed to David Smith, who represented the family in the case against Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela.

In the document, Smith described Mandela’s health as perilous, and said he was in a permanent vegetative state and was being assisted in breathing by a life support machine.

Smith was not immediately available for comment this afternoon.

On Thursday night, the presidency denied claims that Mandela was in a vegetative state.

“We confirm our earlier statement released this afternoon after President Jacob Zuma visited Madiba in hospital that Madiba remains in a critical, but stable condition,” spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

He said Mandela was under the care of a “multi-disciplinary” panel of medical experts drawn from the SA Military Health Services, the public and private sector, and universities.

Mandla Mandela had the bodies of three relatives exhumed from Qunu and moved to his village of Mvezo in 2011.

He claimed that Mvezo, where he was building a multi-million-rand hotel, was the birthplace of the Mandelas and held historic significance.

On Wednesday, 16 members of the family, including Mandela’s daughters Makaziwe Mandela, Zindzi Mandela-Motlhajwa, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, his ex-wife Winnie-Madikizela Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, were granted an urgent order for Mandla to return the bones to Qunu.

The remains are those of Mandela’s eldest son, Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969; Mandla Mandela’s father, Makgatho Mandela, who died of Aids-related complications in 2005; and Mandela’s first daughter Makaziwe Mandela, who died as an infant in 1948.

They were reburied in Qunu on Thursday.

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