Remains positively identified and burials to take place this afternoon

2013-07-04 00:00

THE remains exhumed at Mvezo Great Place on Wednesday have been positively identified as those of the children of ailing Nelson Mandela, Eastern Cape Health Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said.

“The bodies have been positively identified. They are now going to be buried in Qunu,” Kupelo said at lunch time.

The remains of Makgatho, Makaziwe and Thembekile were exhumed after the Mthatha High Court granted an order in favour of 15 members (SUBS: CORRECT as the list of applicants is 15 not 16 as previously and widely reported) of the Mandela family, to dig them up and rebury them in Qunu.

This was after the family members took Mandla Mandela, one of Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, to court after he had dug up the remains and reinterred them in Mvezo in 2011, without the family’s consent.

In court papers, Mandela’s oldest daughter said: “It has always been the desire of Mr Nelson Mandela for his remains to be buried at his family’s homestead in Qunu near Mthatha, Eastern Cape.”

The remains Mandela’s children were earlier this morning moved from undertaker Titi Funerals, where they were kept overnight, to conduct DNA tests at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital.

“Professor Banwari Meel, a forensic specialist at Nelson Mandela Hospital, monitored the exhumations and conducted tests on the remains,” Kupelo said.

Soon after the tests before 1pm a convoy of vehicles of the undertaker were seen leaving the hospital just and headed for the premises of the undertaker in town.

It was believed that the remains were to be dressed and then placed in coffins ahead of the burials in Qunu this afternoon.

Among family members at the mortuary was Mandela’s eldest Makaziwe and grandchildren Ndaba and Ndileka. Mandla was conspicuously absent, as he had earlier held his own press conference at Mvezo.

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