Mandla Mandela lodges formal complaint against lawyers

2013-07-12 18:25

Former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela has lodged a formal complaint against two lawyers who represented 16 members of his family in a case against him.

The family members obtained an urgent interdict in the Mthatha High Court against Mandla last week, forcing the return of the remains of three of Nelson Mandela’s children to Qunu.

Mandla, who lost the case with costs last week when Mthatha High Court Judge Lusindiso Pakade granted the order against him, says the case was built on lies and wants Advocate David Smith and attorney Wesley Hayes to be investigated for alleged professional misconduct.

In the complaints, addressed to the Eastern Cape Bar and the Cape Law Society, Mandla said he wanted to lodge a complaint pertaining to a certificate of urgency Smith had filed at the Mthatha High Court, in which he claimed Madiba was in a “permanent vegetative state”.

Mandla said the order against him was obtained with “undue haste and on misleading or untrue facts”, and “held far-reaching, and irreversible, consequences for me”.

Mandla suffered a humiliating defeat last week when the 16 members of his family, led by Madiba’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, and grandchildren Ndileka and Ndaba, got the order to exhume the remains of Makgatho, Thembekile, and baby Makaziwe Mandela.

Their remains were exhumed in Mvezo last Wednesday and reburied the following day in Qunu in a private ceremony attended only by close family members.

Mandla, who attended neither the exhumation nor the reburial, lambasted his family in a press conference in which he disowned two of his brothers and accused one of them of having fathered his (Mandla’s) child.

In the complaint, Mandla accused Smith of failing to provide supporting affidavits from physicians treating his grandfather, to prove that Madiba was in a “permanent vegetative state” and that they advised the family to switch off his life support machines.

Mandla said he visited his grandfather in hospital often where he was briefed by the medical doctors treating him, and “Smith is the first person to suddenly identify my grandfather for being in a ‘permanent vegetative state’”.

“I am not a professional legal person and I can only assume that the allegations by Smith, in relation to my grandfather’s state of health, helped sway the presiding judge, if indeed it was not the sole basis on which urgency was decided, to hear the application and to, as a consequence, not afford me proper time within which to respond to it.

“I respectfully request that Smith’s conduct be investigated with a view to determine whether professional misconduct has been displayed in this matter,” Mandla said.

Deputy chairperson of the Eastern Cape Bar Gerald Bloem confirmed that a formal complaint had been lodged against Smith.

“Yes, we received the complaint against advocate David Andrew Smith today. The complaint dated 11 July 2013 was only received today (12 July 2013) at our offices in Port Elizabeth,” Bloem said.

He did not want to be drawn into the details of the complaint.

When City Press spoke to Smith this afternoon, he said he had not yet received the complaint.

“I will deal with it when I actually receive the complaint. At the moment, no one has given me anything,” he said.

Hayes could not be reached for comment.

Mandla’s spokesperson, Freddy Pilusa, confirmed the complaints.

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