Mandela court battle continues as Madiba starts third month in hospital

2013-08-08 17:58

As former president Nelson Mandela prepares to spend his third month in hospital, members of his family are still battling it out in court.

Mandela was admitted to hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection, and has remained in hospital since.

The last update on his condition provided by the presidency was over a week ago. Mandela was reported to be in a critical but stable condition and responsive.

The court case centres on the remains of Madiba’s three late children – and whether they should be buried at his home, Qunu, or his birthplace, Mvezo.

Yesterday, lawyers representing 16 members of his (Madiba’s) family filed answering affidavits at the Mthatha High Court where they are arguing over why remains of Madiba’s children, Thembekile, Makgatho and baby Makaziwe, should remain in Qunu.

The legal representative for the 16, Wesley Hayes, confirmed to City Press that they had filed answering affidavits yesterday.

“Yes, we filed the papers. I am still consulting with my clients on this matter as we speak,” Hayes said this afternoon.

Advocate Matthew Mphahlwa, who represents Mandla Mandela in the matter, also confirmed that the papers had been filed.

Mphahlwa, who also said he was consulting with Mandla in Mvezo today, refused to comment further.

Last month, Mthatha High Court Judge Lusindiso Pakade ordered Madiba’s grandson, Mandla, to return the remains to Qunu after he dug them up and reburied them in Mvezo, without the knowledge and permission of the rest of the family, in 2011.

The order came after Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, and 15 other family members took the Mvezo chief to court to force him to return the remains.

When Mandla failed to comply with the court order, a sheriff of the court, escorted by police, forced open the gates at Mvezo Great Place in or

der to dig up the remains – and reburied them at a new gravesite in Qunu.

As the rest of the world celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day to mark the elderly statesman’s birthday on July 18, lawyers representing the two warring factions in the family were at it again in court.

Mandla’s lawyers sought a rescission of the court order that forced the return of the remains. After lawyers representing the 16 family members indicated that they would oppose the application, they were given 14 days to file answering affidavits. These papers were filed yesterday.

Mandla’s founding affidavit in the rescission application argues that the order against him was “erroneously sought and granted”.

He argues that he was not properly served with the papers in the first application and that is was granted in his absence.

He says he was unfairly treated and not afforded his constitutional right to defend himself.

“The applicants could have taken proper steps to apprise me of the fact that the application was being brought. They did not do so,” Mandla said in court papers.

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