Mandela vs Mandela: Judgment expected tomorrow

2013-07-02 20:05

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Judgment in the case that pits 16 family members of former president Nelson Mandela against his grandson, Mandla Mandela, has been reserved in the Mthatha High Court in the Eastern Cape.

Judge Lusindiso Pakade adjourned the proceedings today after legal representatives for both parties had argued on a typographical error which had given Mandla until July 29 to comply with a court order.

The order compels him to return the remains of three of former president Nelson Mandela’s children, which had been moved to Mvezo.

Advocate David Smith SC, who represents the group of 16, said it was disingenuous for Mandla to think that he had until July 29 to comply with the order because the matter had been brought on an urgent basis.

He conceded that a mistake had occurred.

An interim order was granted by Pakade on Friday but Mandla’s legal team argued he had been prejudiced as he had not been properly served with papers.

Mandla’s legal representative, Advocate Phillip Zilwa SC, argued that his client should be given sufficient time to comply. He said the order should not have been granted in the first place as it was contrary to the “rules of natural justice”.

Zilwa argued the order had been “erroneously” granted.

Pakade ruled that the deadline be amended to 3pm tomorrow.

The judge also ruled that the parties file their heads of arguments tomorrow: the applicants by 7am and the respondents by 10am.

The 16 members of the Mandela family cited in court papers include Nelson Mandela’s eldest living daughter, Makaziwe; wife, Graça Machel; daughter, Zenani; ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and all grandchildren.

Mandla is cited as the first respondent.

Pakade said he would make his ruling, which will be the final order of the court, after the heads of argument had been filed tomorrow.

The case, which was held in chambers on Friday and Monday, was heard in open court today after the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) requested access in a letter.

Mandla was not present in court, but Makaziwe and Mandela grandchildren Ndileka and Ndaba did attend the proceedings.

Makaziwe sat quietly in court, holding her left hand to her mouth, and Ndileka often looked down while Ndaba watched with keen interest as the proceedings unfolded.

The family refused to comment. Said Makaziwe: “This is a private family matter, it is unfortunate that it had to go to court.”

Commenting on a Daily Dispatch report in which Mandiba’s second eldest grandson, Ndaba, said Mandla was an illegitimate chief in Mvezo, Makaziwe said: “Ndaba has every right to express his views.”

She declined to comment further.

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