Mandela scorns court

2012-02-18 00:00

A WARRANT of arrest was issued for controversial ANC MP Mandla Mandela after he failed to appear in a Bityi court for alleged bigamy yesterday.

This was confirmed by Mthatha police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela.

Fatyela said that Mandla was supposed to have appeared in the Bityi Periodical Court.

“We do not know why he did not appear in court today, but we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that he does appear in court.”

Mandela’s divorce lawyer, Bertus Preller, confirmed last night that the warrant had been issued, but that it had not been executed.

NPA Mthatha spokesperson Luxolo Tyali later confirmed that there had been discussions with Mandela’s attorney, and arrangements had been made for him to appear in court on Monday.

Mandela’s first wife, Thando Mabuna-Mandela, laid a charge of bigamy against Mandela in December last year, after her estranged husband defied a court order not to marry a Pietermaritzburg woman, Mbali Makhathini.

The pair have gone through a messy and bitter divorce since 2008, after marrying in community of property in 2004.

The traditional wedding to Makhathini took place in Mvezo and Mandela came under fire for defying a court of law. It was his third attempt to tie the knot, after Mabuna-Mandela managed to annul another marriage, to Anais Grimaud, with whom he has a child.

Preller said yesterday he believed it was in everyone’s interests, including the country’s and the Mandela family’s, for the divorce to be settled as a matter of urgency.

Preller, who only recently became Mandela’s lawyer, said he believed his client would be in a position to make a financial settlement offer soon.

On the bigamy charge, Preller said Mandela had a “very good defence”.

“I don’t think there’s much substance to the charge.”

Mandela himself declined to comment last night, while Mabuna-Mandela said she would not talk to the media about the issue and referred queries to her attorney, Wesley Hayes.

“My lawyer can comment on this matter if he wants to.”

Hayes confirmed he had been advised by his client that the warrant had been issued, but did not have further details. He said Mabuna-Mandela had succeeded in getting a court order this week to compel Mandela to disclose his financial interests and how much his estate was worth.

Mandela has 15 days from Monday to reply.

Hayes said it was now “gloves off” given that attempts to get details about his financial affairs was dragging on for four months.

His client wanted to know among other things whether Mandela had sold the rights to his grandfather’s funeral, as she was entitled to a share of these and other interests.

On Mandela’s failure to appear in court on the criminal charge, Hayes said: “He has shown utter contempt and disdain for the courts and the laws of the country. He thinks he is above the law.”

As an MP Mandela had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the country, he said.

Hayes said another writ had also been issued to attach a portion of Mandela’s joint estate after his latest failure to pay maintenance of almost R13 000 a month to Mabuna-Mandela. He had failed to do so for three months.

Another writ had been issued before also regarding his alleged failure to pay maintenance pending the finalisation of the divorce litigation and some of his assets had been attached then too.

Meanwhile, it could not be established whether the ANC leadership had met the Madiba clan about Mandela, after allegations from three Mvezo villagers that he was stealing their land for development; kidnapping charges after two Sunday Times journalists were allegedly held forcibly in the village in October; defying the court order barring him from taking another wife, and two complaints of bigamy laid against him.

The Sunday Times reported last year that alarmed by developments, ANC provincial bosses had pleaded for clan elders to rein him in.

ANC provincial chairperson Mlibo Qhoboshiyane was quoted as saying: “We’re deeply worried and saddened … [Nelson] Mandela is still alive. I don’t think he is taking these things well. For his sake, we’ll pray for the Madiba clan to attend to this matter urgently.”

Hayes said the Customary Marriages Act of 1998, signed into law by Mandela’s grandfather, then-president Nelson Mandela, forbade a spouse to enter into more than one legal union while still married.

It also stopped couples entering into civil and customary marriages simultaneously.

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