Royal family intervenes in Mandela grave battle

2013-07-01 08:58

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The Ngubengcuka royal houses will intervene in a Mandela family dispute involving the reburial of some of Nelson Mandela’s relatives.

Royal family chairperson Thanduxolo Mtirara said in a statement yesterday that the AbaThembu royal house would hold a meeting with other royal houses on July 8 at the Qunu royal residence to try and resolve the matter.

Mtirara said they were deeply concerned following reports that the Mandelas had turned to the courts over the matter.

Former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, exhumed the bones of the statesman’s son, Makgatho Mandela, his daughter, Makaziwe, and his second son, Madiba Thembekile, allegedly without consulting the family.

“The royal family for the kingdom of AbaThembu ... sees it as its responsibility to intervene in the current family dispute and invite other royal houses so as to bring the necessary harmony, especially during this challenging period when the patriarch of the family is ill in hospital,” said Mtirara.

“This matter has to be brought to an end.”

Mandela remains in a critical but stable condition at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria. He has been in hospital since June 8 and is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

In a statement yesterday, Mandla Mandela said the way the matter was being handled was contrary to their customs.

He expressed disappointment that his family members had chosen to turn to the courts to resolve intricate family matters.

“... [It is] a deep disappointment to my grandfather and his ancestors,” he said.

On Friday, the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court heard an urgent application by 16 people against Mandla Mandela.

The application sought to have the remains of some of the former president’s relatives moved from Mvezo to Qunu, and was also made against Eastern Cape premier Noxolo Kiviet and Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana.

City Press reported that Judge Lusindiso Pakade issued an interim order on Friday, interdicting Mandla Mandela from preventing the reburial and from interfering with the process, which was expected to be concluded in the next few days.

Mandla Mandela was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the hearing, even though he was not present.

His lawyer, advocate Matthew Mpahlwa, confirmed that he had decided to oppose the matter. A motion would be filed today on the basis that the remains were in the right place in Mvezo, where Mandela was born.

“It is important at all times that we as a family avoid actions and decisions that will infringe on the dignity of my grandfather,” he said.

“As the nation and the world continues to send their support and prayers, the family’s efforts must be geared towards caring for him and to avoid putting his name in disrepute.”

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