Mandla Mandela faces new crop of complaints

2013-11-10 14:01

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Gender commission the latest to join the fray

The Commission for Gender Equality has taken up the cudgels on behalf of Mandla Mandela’s estranged first wife.

The commission confirmed this week that it has received a formal complaint against the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) relating to the bigamy complaint Tando Mabunu-Mandela laid against Mandla nearly three years ago.

Mabunu-Mandela laid the complaint at the Bityi Police Station after her estranged husband married his third wife, Mbalentle Makathini, in 2011.

The previous year, he had married Anais Grimaud.

But Mandla, the oldest grandson of former president Nelson Mandela and the Mvezo chief in Eastern Cape, has not been prosecuted yet.

Last week, City Press reported that Mabunu-Mandela’s lawyers had asked the NPA to issue them with a certificate of nonprosecution so they could pursue a private prosecution.

Commission spokesperson Javu Baloyi told City Press this week: “The Commission for Gender Equality confirms that it has received a complaint from Mr Wesley Hayes on behalf of his client, Ms Tando Mandela, against the [NPA].

“The [commission] received the complaint on 4 November 2013. The complaint centres on the alleged delay on the part of the NPA to bring about criminal proceedings in respect of the bigamy allegations.”

Baloyi said the commission had now asked Mabunu-Mandela for “additional information”.

Hayes said: “This is about a woman’s rights which have been infringed. My client feels prejudiced. We are hoping the commission will put pressure on the NPA to speed up the process.

“Three years is a long time and my client finds herself in an untenable situation. We see a male chief and a prominent member of society trampling on the rights of a powerless young woman.”

Baloyi said the commission would assess the complaint to establish if the matter was “gender related”.

If it was found to be so, the commission would conduct an “in-depth investigation”.

The NPA’s regional communications manager in Mthatha, Luxolo Tyali, said the authority was not aware of the commission’s involvement.

Mandla could not be reached for comment. His phone rang unanswered and his lawyer Gary Jansen said he was not giving any interviews to the media.

It’s been a tough week for Mandla. City Press broke the news this week that his lawyers had withdrawn their services after he allegedly failed to settle his bills with them.

On Wednesday, Randall Titus, the director of Cape Town law firm Randall Titus & Associates, confirmed that his firm no longer represented Mandela, who is embroiled in several court tussles.

Court papers before the Western Cape High Court, which City Press has seen, reveal that the firm is asking Mandla to pay it R467 400, plus 15.5% interest.

The decision to withdraw was “due to lack of instructions, among other things”, according to Titus.

He said: “We have issued summons to a sheriff to recover the money he owes us, which up to now he has failed to pay”.

They expected the sheriff to attach Mandla’s assets to recover the money.

Corresponding attorneys XM Petse Incorporated, who were instructed by Titus to defend Mandla in an urgent application brought by 16 members of his family in June, revealed that they, too, had not been paid.

The Mthatha-based law firm represented the Mvezo chief in the Mthatha High Court when his family forced him to return the remains of three of former president Mandela’s children from Mvezo to Qunu.

He exhumed the remains in 2011 without the family’s consent and reburied them in Qunu.

Hymie Zilwa of XM Petse confirmed to City Press on Friday they were owed up to R200 000 in legal fees after appearing for Mandla in this matter.

“If Randall Titus is not paid it means we are also not paid. This puts us in a very precarious position,” said Zilwa.

» Talk to us: Do you think three years is too long to wait for a trial?

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