Mandla’s application temporarily removed from court roll

2013-07-19 00:00

MANDLA Mandela’s application to rescind a court order authorising exhumation of former president Nelson Mandela’s children, was yesterday temporarily removed from the Mthatha high court roll.

This was due to the insufficient time given to the legal team of the Mandela family to file court papers, in line with court rules.

Family lawyer Wesley Hayes confirmed that the court case did not go ahead as planned and the application was removed from the roll pending the exchange of court papers among the legal teams.

“They gave us only five days to respond. They were wrong,” he said, adding that the family lawyers now have 10 more days to file answering affidavits.

Although the papers gave the family until July 10 to file the notice to oppose the application and then 20 days thereafter to file their answering affidavit, the same papers had asked the matter to be heard by yesterday if there was no intention to oppose the application.

The family lawyers only filed notice on Wednesday.

The court papers cite 15 Mandela family members as respondents and Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana as interested parties.

The application is a sequel to an order granted by Judge Lusindiso Pakade compelling Mandla to return the remains of Makgatho, Thembekile and the infant Makaziwe.

The remains were exhumed in Qunu and reburied in Mvezo in 2011. They were reburied two weeks ago in Qunu after the judge authorised their exhumation, after an interdict was issued.

In the most recent court round, Mandla said he had not been properly served with court papers before the interdict was initially granted in his absence.

He also said the application by his family had been brought when he was at Mandela’s sick bed.

“I was unaware of the proceedings and was shocked when the court order was served on me,” Mandla said.

He added, according to the court papers, that no explanation had been given why the summons had not been served on him in the usual manner, which would be to hand it to him personally. Instead it was affixed to the gate at the Mvezo Great Place, his official home.

He also said the applicants were not properly cited in their application. “Neither have confirmatory affidavits been filed by second to 16th respondents to confirm that they are indeed knowing applicants in the matter.”

Mandla also said his family had not advanced sufficient reasons to justify the urgency of their application.

He said the final resting place of Mandela could be determined by his will, and if there was none he (Mandla) as the eldest male descendant would decide this after consulting relevant people.

Mandla said he was entitled to determine where his father, Makgatho, whose remains were reburied along with the remains of his aunt Makaziwe and uncle Thembekile, was buried.

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