Winnie accuses?Madiba of land fraud

2014-10-19 15:00

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela claims that her late former husband, Nelson Mandela, acted “irregularly and unlawfully” – and may even have committed fraud – when he registered a plot of land in Qunu in his own name.

Madikizela-Mandela, who divorced the former president in 1996, this week filed papers in the Mthatha High Court in a bid to wrest control of the property away from the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (NRM) Family Trust.

The trust oversees the Eastern Cape property on behalf of Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel.

The struggle veteran and ANC MP is challenging the State Land Disposal Act, which Mandela allegedly used to acquire the property.

The act, passed in 1941, allows the sitting president to donate land to people.

Madikizela-Mandela argues in her papers, which City Press has seen, that Mandela used this act to donate the land in Qunu to himself and that this is a clear conflict of interest.

She claims that abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo gave her the land when Mandela was still imprisoned and that it is rightfully hers.

“The president cannot use the act relied upon for his own personal benefit, and to allow that would be contrary to the provisions of the act and the provisions of the Constitution for the Republic of South Africa?…?The deed of grant was irregularly obtained, and obviously there was misrepresentation or fraud since the property was obtained by me and not Mr Mandela.

“At the least, the deed of grant could have been lawfully obtained in my favour.”

She also claims the reliance on the act is “clearly wrong” because it only allows the president to donate state land and not “take land for himself”.

In papers filed before the court, Madikizela-Mandela argues: “The application concerns the validity of clause 4.5.3 in the will attested by the late Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in terms of which he bequeathed the Qunu property in the following terms: I bequeath the Qunu property and the movable assets in or on it at the time of my death to the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust.”

The extract from Mandela’s will continues: “It is my wish that trustees of the NRM Trust administer the Qunu property for the benefit of the Mandela family, and my third wife and her two children, Malengane Machel and Josina Machel. The Qunu home should be used by my family in perpetuity in order to preserve the unity of the Mandela family.”

But Madikizela-Mandela is having none of it.

“The Qunu property remains my house and, therefore, the testament in so far as it seeks to dispose of that property is invalid and liable to be set aside from the will,” she said in her papers.

She said in the court papers that she intended to use affidavits from Dalindyebo to prove her case. The king has already said publicly that Madikizela-Mandela is the rightful owner of the Qunu land.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he could not comment at this stage.

Mandela’s eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, said it would be premature for him to comment on the matter because it was still before the court.

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