Presidency urges Mandelas to heal family feud

2013-07-05 14:29

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The presidency has urged Nelson Mandela’s family to solve an increasingly bitter dispute “amicably”, weighing in for the first time on a feud over the ailing former statesman.

“It is regrettable that there is a dispute going on among family members and we’d like that dispute to be resolved as amicably and as soon as possible,” President Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, told AFP in an interview today.

After a heated court battle, 16 Mandela relatives won a court order to rebury the remains of his three deceased children on Wednesday.

His oldest grandson, Mandla (39), had moved the graves from Mandela’s childhood village, Qunu, to his own nearby homestead in Mvezo, where the former president was born, two years ago without the family’s permission.

Following the ruling, Mandla launched a tirade at his relatives.

In a nationally televised news conference yesterday he accused one of his brothers, Mbuso, of impregnating his wife.

Mandla also accused other close relatives of money-grabbing and said Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, was trying to “sow divisions and destruction” in her family.

Maharaj refused to comment on a nine-day-old court document which said the 94-year-old former statesman was judged to be in a “permanent vegetative state” and that his doctors had recommended switching off his life-support machines.

“We did not file any document and we are not saying that it’s true or not true,” he said.

However, the presidency did release a statement last night to “clarify” Mandela’s health condition.

Read the full statement here:

The filing was produced by a Mandela family lawyer last Wednesday and argued for an urgent court hearing so that a burial place for the critically ill Mandela could be finalised.

Since the court document was published, the presidency as well as Mandela’s family and friends have said his condition has improved.

But Maharaj would not confirm if the document described Mandela’s health accurately.

Madiba remained in a “critical but stable” condition, Maharaj said, but did not elaborate, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

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