Bring it on, Mandla tells Mandela family

2013-07-03 00:00

Mandla Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, has told members of his family who have taken him to court and laid criminal charges against him to "bring it on".

Speaking through his lawyer, Advocate Mathew Mpahlwa, this morning after members of his family had laid criminal charges against him for allegedly tampering with graves, he said he had done nothing wrong and would fight it out in court.

"Yes, I met with my client last night. He confirmed that criminal charges against him had been laid. He will cooperate with the police in their investigation. But we want to reiterate that my client has done absolutely nothing wrong, so they must bring it on," Mpahlwa told City Press.

He said his client was unfazed by the criminal charges.

The charges were laid at the Bityi Police Station yesterday morning by Mandla's aunt, Makaziwe, City Press has learnt.

Mthatha police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said police were busy investigating a charge of tampering with graves which was opened by the family yesterday morning.

"We are still investigating and hope to conclude our probe within seven days. After that we will then hand over the case to the senior public prosecutor for a decision," Fatyela said.

He did not want say who had laid the criminal charges against Mandla, but City Press has reliably learnt that it was Madiba's eldest daughter, Makaziwe.

She is also cited as first applicant in the matter currently under way at the Mthatha High Court over the remains of the former president's three late children.

Makaziwe and 15 others want the court to force Mandla to return the remains he had exhumed in Qunu in 2011 and reburied in Mvezo. The family want them reinterred on Mandela's farm.

Mandla is fighting the application in court and wants the remains to stay in Mvezo. Mthatha High Court Judge Lusindiso Pakade is expected to make a ruling on the matter this afternoon.

In court yesterday, Makaziwe and grandchildren Ndaba and Ndileka were present as legal teams from opposing sides battled it out.

According to a highly-placed source, this was after they had gone to the Bityi Police Station for Makaziwe to lay the criminal charge against her nephew.

Another source close to the family said the criminal charges were the last straw after Mandla refused to let go of the remains, even after an intervention by family friend and cabinet minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Mpahlwa confirmed that Sisulu had met with Mandla but could not be drawn on the reason for their meeting.

"That is a matter between my client and the minister I am not aware of what they spoke about. He told me that he met with the minister, that's all," Mpahlwa said.

Sisulu's spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, told Sipho Masondo he did not know if Sisulu and Mandla had met. "If they met it was a private meeting. These people are not strangers to each other and they meet all the time.

"It's possible that she met him but I wouldn't know the details of that meeting."

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