Mandla Mandela must be heard - lawyer

2013-07-02 18:46
Mandla Mandela (Picture: AFP)

Mandla Mandela (Picture: AFP)

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Mthatha - Mandla Mandela asked the Eastern Cape High Court on Tuesday to set aside an order that he return to Qunu the remains of three family members he reburied in his home village of Mvezo two years ago.

His legal representative Phillip Zilwa told the court in Mthatha that an order to move the graves back to Qunu was granted "erroneously" last week.

"This order should never have been granted in the first place," he said.

"Everyone has the constitutional right to be heard in court," Zilwa said.

He wanted the court to hear from Mandla, who is the grandson of critically ill former president Nelson Mandela, before the order was made final.

"You don't grant an order against an absent party without letting that party know you are bringing an order against them," he said.

David Smith, appearing for the 16 Mandela family members who brought the initial application, submitted that Mandla's behaviour had been "reprehensible".

Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela, her nephew Ndaba, and niece Ndileka - all applicants in the case - were present during proceedings.

Mandla was not present.

‘Power-hungry and self-obsessed’

In an interview with the Eastern Cape daily newspaper, Dispatch, Ndaba Mandela called his brother Mandla power-hungry and self-obsessed.

When Makaziwe was asked, while leaving the court, what she thought of Ndaba's comments, she said: "Ndaba has the right to express himself. I have no further comment."

The three then sped away in Ndaba's double cab bakkie to Madiba's homestead in Qunu.

Eastern Cape police confirmed that a criminal case was opened against Mandla Mandela on Tuesday.

"Yes, I confirm a case of tampering with a grave was opened at Bityi police station on 2 July," police spokesperson Mzukisi Fatyela said.

Fatyela declined to reveal who had laid the charge.

"A case is opened at the police station and we will now investigate that case."

The remains of Mandla Mandela's father Makgatho, who died in 2005; Mandela's first daughter Makaziwe, who died as an infant in 1948; and Mandela's second son Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969, were moved from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011.

Last week, the Mandela family was granted a court order compelling Mandla to return to Qunu the remains of Madiba's three children: his eldest son and Mandla's father, Makgato Mandela, who died in 2005; Mandela's first daughter Makaziwe, who died as an infant in 1948; and Mandela's second son Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969.

The applicants want the reburial to happen on Wednesday.

The case has been postponed to 3 July.

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