Bizos to oppose Mandela family claims

2013-04-10 22:18
George Bizos (File, AFP)

George Bizos (File, AFP)

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Johannesburg - A legal attempt to push advocate George Bizos SC, Cabinet Minister Tokyo Sexwale and attorney Bally Chuene out of companies connected to former president Nelson Mandela will be opposed.

"We are instructed to record our clients' complete rejection of the scurrilous allegations made by the applicants in their papers," Michael Hart, director at the law firm Norton Rose, said in a statement.

"These will be refuted in the answering affidavits filed in support of their opposition to the application."

The Star reported that Mandela's daughters Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Dlamini want the three removed from Harmonieux Investment and Holdings and Magnifique Investment and Holdings. They allege in an affidavit they were not formally appointed by way of a resolution.

The Star reported the companies were set up to channel proceeds of Mandela's handprints into the companies' accounts for Mandela and his children's benefit, with proceeds worth around R15m.

The two daughters allege, among other things, that Bizos, Sexwale and Chuene were not appointed by Mandela as major shareholders or directors.

Hart said his instructions were that in June 2004, Mandela ended his professional relationship with attorney Ismail Ayob, who filed the women's application, and his firm.

"He provided explicit instructions to Ayob identifying the independent professionals and businessman of high repute who were to be appointed to replace Ayob and his family members as trustees of the various trusts and directors of the companies owned by such trust," he said.

"Our clients were identified by Mr Mandela and were in due course lawfully appointed as directors of the companies referred to in the application."

He said no application was argued before the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday, as was reported, but that the Registrar issued the application papers on Tuesday.

Hart said the papers served on the three men contained no sworn affidavits from beneficiaries supporting the application, other than those of the Mandela sisters.

"Our clients record their dismay at the insensitivity of the applicants in publicly releasing the unanswered court documents, particularly at this time.

"They will deal fully with the matter in their papers to be filed in terms of the rules of court."

According to the application, which Ayob sent to Sapa, he asked the three to resign as directors, on behalf of the sisters, but did not get a reply.

Ayob told Sapa an application for an order that they step down as directors would be made on 30 April in the South High Court in Johannesburg.

Mandela's grandson, Chief Zwelivelile Mandela, distanced himself from the application.

"I want to put it on record that I am neither aware of this court application nor supportive of it," he said in a statement.

"If the paper [The Star] had taken the time to contact me, I would have confirmed that I have never signed any sworn affidavit calling for the removal of the individuals mentioned in the story... To date, I have not been part of any family meeting convened to discuss this matter and therefore disassociate myself from the court application decision," he said.

"Some of the individuals mentioned in the story are men of integrity and have always enjoyed the support of my grandfather," he continued.

He said Bizos, for instance, had an "enduring relationship" with his grandfather and the family. It was important the family avoid actions and decisions which infringed on the dignity of his grandfather, who was recovering after his recent release from hospital

"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."

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  tokyo sexwale  |  bally chuene  |  george bizos

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