Mandla Mandela versus first wife: chief ordered to pay costs

2013-11-26 16:49

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Mandla Mandela, the chief of Mvezo and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, made a rare appearance in the Mthatha High Court today for the case in which his estranged wife is attempting to have his third marriage annulled.

Mandla, who was represented by new attorneys of record after Randall Titus withdrew from the case because of nonpayment, was accompanied by his third wife Mbalenhle Makhathini (the second respondent in the case), his mother Nolusapho, and family elder Napilisi Mandela.

The matter stood down three times as the court was forced to wait for Mandla’s lawyers, who were flying in from Cape Town this morning.

The lawyers landed at the East London Airport and took a three-hour drive to Mthatha.

Soon after they arrived, Mandla’s legal team asked for a postponement, which raised the ire of lawyers representing his first wife, Tando Mabunu-Mandela, who viewed the action as unreasonable.

Advocate David Smith, who represents Mabunu-Mandela, who married Mandla in community of property in 2004, told the court that another postponement would be “acute prejudice” to his client.

“The first respondent [Mandla] has stage-managed this case. This is the fourth postponement, enough is enough. Today we should proceed.

“The first respondent has not instructed lawyers since July this year on the matter. His conduct is simple unacceptable,” he said.

Smith, who also represented Mandla’s aunt, Makaziwe, and 15 family members in the case that forced him to return the remains of three of former president Mandela’s children from Mvezo to Qunu, said the chief always “made up stories” whenever the case came up.

“The first respondent [Mandla] is petrified of arguing this case in court. He always comes up with stories and tricks. To be honest, it is now starting to be boring,” Smith said.

But after the two legal teams went to see the judge in chambers the matter was postponed and Mandla was ordered to carry the costs.

Mandla refused to comment after the court had adjourned.

He immediately walked out of the court building with his wife and mother, and drove away.

His lawyer Gary Janson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Mandla’s attorney, Arnie Immerman, said they were pleased to get the postponement as it would give them time to familiarise themselves with the case as new legal representatives.

Mabunu-Mandela’s lawyer, Wesley Hayes, was unhappy with today’s outcome.

“The system has failed Tando on this matter again. How many times has this case been postponed? This is indicative of a justice system that comes to Mandla’s assistance every time and at every opportunity,” he said.

But Hayes said he was at least satisfied that the court had ruled that Mandla should pay the costs.

“Getting the costs is a victory on its own. We are happy that went our way,” Hayes said.

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