Mandela court battle far from over

2013-07-19 19:30

The legal battle in the case that has pitted Mandela against Mandela seems to be far from over.

This was apparent as the nation – and the world – celebrated Nelson Mandela’s birthday yesterday while the legal teams of Madiba’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, and 16 members of his family were at it again.

The issue at hand: the human remains of three of Madiba’s children, Makgatho, Thembekile and baby Makaziwe.

A rescission application is before the court. It seeks to overturn a ruling that forced Mandla to return the remains of his uncles and aunt to Qunu.

If it succeeds, it opens up the possibility of another exhumation of the Mandela remains.

But Mandela’s spokesperson, Freddy Pilusa, told The New Age earlier this week that Mandla had “no intention to insist on the repatriation of the remains back to Mvezo”.

Mandla argues in court papers that the order had been erroneously sought and granted.

According to Mandla’s lawyer, Advocate Mathew Mpahlwa, Judge Zamani Nhlangulela, who presided over the case yesterday, gave the legal representatives for the 16 members of the Mandela family 14 days to file papers to oppose the rescission application.

“We were ready to proceed but we couldn’t because a notice to oppose had been filed late on Wednesday,” Mpahlwa said, adding that the matter appeared on the motion court roll yesterday.

But attorney Wesley Hayes, who represents the 16 Mandela’s, said this was not the case.

“The matter was erroneously placed on the court roll and was simply removed. Nothing happened in court on Thursday, nothing was heard in court,” Hayes said, adding “How can they try to enrol the case on the old man’s birthday?”

Hayes did concede that a motion to oppose had been filed.

Mpahlwa said the matter had been set for July 18 after they filled their rescission application on June 3 – the day on which the court had ruled that the remains of the three Mandela children had to be removed from Mvezo.

Mpahlwa said they were confident about their case.

“The end is closer, and the truth shall be revealed,” Mpahlwa said.

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