Mandela: No funeral talk at Qunu meeting, says Bantu Holomisa

2013-06-26 12:32

Funeral arrangements for ailing former president Nelson Mandela were not discussed at a family meeting in Qunu, Eastern Cape, United Democratic Movement (UDF) leader Bantu Holomisa has said.

“Yes, I can confirm that,” he told Sapa.

He declined to provide further information, referring queries to the Mandela family.

Holomisa attended yesterday’s meeting with the Mandela elders, Mandela’s eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela, his grandson Mandla Mandela, and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Holomisa gave the Mail & Guardian a more detailed account of the meeting.

“The purpose of the meeting was to brief the elders about Mandela’s condition,” he was quoted as saying on the newspaper’s website.

“With some family members living in Johannesburg and others in the Eastern Cape, it becomes important to make sure everyone is kept up to speed with the developments.

“One does not want to leave the elders behind,” he reportedly said.

“They were not given any additional details on Mandela’s condition.

“They were told exactly what President Jacob Zuma has told the nation ... and it was not a shock to them.

“They have been monitoring his health and have been reading the newspapers.”

Holomisa told the Mail & Guardian the meeting had finished around 3pm.

He said the Mandela family in Joburg would continuously update the elders in Eastern Cape. He denied claims that it was an “emergency” meeting.

According to the Mail & Guardian report, Holomisa said the meeting did not include talks about Mandela’s funeral or any logistical issues surrounding his health.

Holomisa said plans for Mandela’s funeral remained the responsibility of the government as he was a former president.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said yesterday that Mandela’s doctors were continuing to do everything possible to help him recover and to keep him comfortable.

Holomisa reiterated this, telling the newspaper there were no new developments around Mandela’s health.

Holomisa reportedly said he had been invited to the meeting in his capacity as a “family friend”, and there was nothing unusual about his attendance, as he had attended other Mandela family meetings in the past.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Holomisa and Mandela had a long-standing friendship, which had survived even Holomisa’s expulsion from the ANC in 1996.

He was expelled for revealing ANC “irregularities” which occurred in the former Transkei under apartheid.

Earlier today, Gauteng newspapers reported that Mandla Mandela had stormed out of the family meeting.

Joburg daily, The Star, reported that it had been told by three sources that the family was torn between Mandla Mandela – who wanted Madiba to be buried at his birthplace in Mvezo – and the rest, who believed his wish to be buried next to his children should be respected.

The Star reported that the meeting was held to discuss a “significant” family matter.

National daily, The Times, reported that a group of elders planned to fly to Gauteng to assess Mandela and decide what to do.

It reported that the meeting had focused on Mandela’s health, and on the moving of the family graves from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011. The graves were moved by Mandla Mandela.

The Times reported that the family wanted the graves of three of Mandela’s children – sons Makgatho and Thembekile, and daughter Makaziwe – to be in Qunu.

The newspaper reported that it understood a fuming Mandla Mandela, who moved the graves without consulting the family, stormed out of the meeting.

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