Mandelas close ranks

2015-01-18 15:00

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An abaThembu elder who chaired Friday’s meeting in Qunu to discuss Mandela family matters says all issues have been “settled forever”.

But somebody will have to tell Winnie Madikizela-Mandela because Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife seems unlikely to give up her fight to claim the late statesman’s Qunu home as her own.

Mandla Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson, hosted a meeting of abaThembu chiefs to discuss what those present called “family issues”.

He did so after a week in which Madikizela-Mandela sought an urgent interdict to stop the meeting.

Her lawyer told the Mthatha High Court on Tuesday that his client feared the meeting would degenerate into violence and that the property – which she is claiming as her own – would be damaged.

She lost and although her lawyer threatened to escalate the matter to the Constitutional Court – which is in recess – the meeting on Friday went ahead.

A senior leader in the abaThembu royal family, Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, who is also one of Nelson Mandela’s cousins, said afterwards that the issues discussed at the meeting would not be made public.

Matanzima, who is the chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, called for the bickering in the Mandela family to stop and for people to respect the late statesman’s wishes.

City Press understands that Matanzima chaired the meeting.

None of the other immediate members of the Mandela family attended with only Mandla and a handful of chiefs seen as loyal to him pitching up on the day.

The meeting started just after 10am on Friday and only finished at 3pm.

Before it started, reports suggested that Mandla’s role as head of the Mandela family and Madikizela-Mandela’s court claim on the Qunu property would be on the agenda.

Mandla left the talking after the meeting to Matanzima. He was cagey about what had been discussed and the kind of resolutions that had been taken.

Matanzima, who conducted a vote of thanks on behalf of the Mandela family during the statesman’s funeral, said no one had a right to go against Madiba’s wishes whether they had attended the meeting or not.

He said the issues that were being discussed were resolved by Madiba before his death.

“As we met here, we could not find any new wisdom from the decisions Madiba took regarding his family,” said Matanzima.

“We agreed in this meeting that the way Dalibhunga [Mandela’s praise name] planned his things and outlined his decisions, we can’t turn around and question them today.

“This is a family matter. As elders and men gathered here, we have agreed that no one can change decisions taken by the late man [Madiba].

“We have to respect his decisions even if we don’t agree with them.

“From today and going forward, this matter is settled forever,” said Matanzima.

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