‘Possible’ family coup to oust Mandla Mandela

2013-12-18 00:00

“IT is possible” that there’s a coup occurring in the Mandela family to overthrow grandson Mandla as the head.

That was the response yesterday by family spokesperson Lieutenant-General Themba Matanzima to reports that plans to oust Mandla were hatched amid the planning for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

The locks on Mandla’s house on the Qunu estate were changed while he kept vigil next to his grandfather in Pretoria, The Times reported yesterday.

The water and electricity were also turned off and friends, family and religious leaders closely associated with him were denied access to the funeral.

The main instigator was apparently oldest Mandela daughter Makaziwe, who also told Mandla to remove all his livestock from the Qunu farm.

Mandla’s spokesperson Freddy Pilusa said yesterday he could neither conform nor deny the rumours.

“We understand the chief [Mandla] wants to preserve Madiba’s legacy. He’s not interested in family feuds,” said Pilusa.

However, Jongisizwe Ndzambule, a confidant of AbaTembu king Buyele­khaya Dalindyebo, said Mandla, chief of Mveso, is being “sidelined”.

He said Mandla should have welcomed them to the Houghton house, but was nowhere to be seen, and they were welcomed by Makaziwe.

He said the funeral was largely arranged by Makaziwe, with little input from Mandla.

During Mandela’s hospitalisation earlier this year, it was widely reported that Makaziwe and Mandla were at odds over who was in charge of the statesman’s legacy.

Several independent sources confirmed that Makaziwe had the locks changed on Mandla’s Qunu house when she arrived last Thursday.

When he arrived with Mandela’s body on Saturday he was furious that he couldn’t get in.

“Makaziwe is in charge. She didn’t want any of Mandla’s family to be accredited for the funeral service. Some of the family couldn’t even get in the gate because they didn’t have name badges. They were shown off from their own house,” said a source.

According to The Times, Mandla’s mother, Nolusapho, was in tears because no arrangement was made to transport her to the burial site.

Matanzima said she wasn’t the only one left behind. “I know there were problems with transport and some family members were left behind, but they were fetched later. I don’t think it was an orchestrated attempt to leave certain people out.”

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