Mandla Mandela in trouble

Mandla Mandela’s estranged wife has won her court bid to force him to reveal whether or not he sold the rights to his grandfather’s funeral.

Judge Pilisa Mnqandi granted Thando Mandela-Mabunu’s application to force her estranged husband to tell her, within 10 days, if he had indeed sold the rights to the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela, and if so, for how much.

Thursday’s hearing in the Mthatha High Court was the latest salvo in the couple’s bitter divorce battle.

She has already had Mandela’s cattle attached, half his bank accounts frozen, two of his marriages annulled and laid criminal charges against him.

Her lawyer, Wesley Hayes, said that although his client was entitled to a share of any money paid for the funeral rights, she did not “personally want it”.

Making matters worse, Mandla Mandela will appear in a Mthatha district court tomorrow on charges of bigamy which Mabunu-Mandela laid after he took KwaZulu-Natal beauty Mbalenhle Makhathini as wife number three – in defiance of a court order.

Mabunu-Mandela laid the bigamy charges in late December after his Christmas Eve wedding. Mandela failed to arrive at a meeting with police at which he was to make a statement detailing his side of the story.

Regional National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said an administrative bungle between police and prosecutors resulted in confusion about whether a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

Even Mandela’s divorce lawyer, Bertus Preller, reportedly confirmed the warrant’s existence on Friday.

“What we need to remember is that this is not a violent crime. Mandla is not a flight risk because he is well-known and would have nowhere to hide.

“I don’t think it would be in his interests to hide, so we expect he’ll appear to answer bigamy charge on Monday,” said Tyali.

Mandela’s love life has been far from smooth recently as his estranged wife, who keeps close tabs on developments, frustrates his attempts to take additional customary wives after their divorce proceedings began in 2009.

Mabunu-Mandela won a court battle to have his marriage to second wife, Reunion-born Anais Grimaud, who has now been given the Xhosa name Nobubele, annulled after Mandela ignored an interdict and married her.

Mabunu-Mandela, who married Mandela in community of property in 2004, insists that his customary marriages cannot exist alongside her civil marriage.

For him to take more wives while their divorce is pending, she says, places her share of their joint assets under threat.

Meanwhile her lawyer, Wesley Hayes, is furious that Mthatha High Court sheriff Mlandeli Joki is reluctant to serve Mandela with court documents about the annulment of his marriage to Makhathini.

Hayes, who is threatening to complain to the Sheriff’s Board, said Joki – who has previously failed to execute another order involving Mandela – has been ducking his calls for a month.

Hayes said he had the same problem trying to get Joki and his colleague Ncedile Ntsibantu to attach goods at Mandela’s home after he failed to pay R20 000 in legal fees and R12 500 in maintenance to his wife.

It took six months and an official complaint to the board before a sheriff from Port Elizabeth travelled the 400km to Mvezo to attach several head of cattle and a minibus.

Neither Ntsibantu nor Joki could be reached for comment this week, despite numerous attempts.

Mandela’s young wives, Nobubele and Nodiyala, which is Makhathini’s new name, presented a united front during the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela’s sister last weekend.

The two women were dressed in the matching blue outfits of traditional Xhosa women and giggled together as they peeled vegetables and minded pots on the fires with other women from the village.

The two were accompanied by a chaperone and childminder for Nobubele’s newborn son, Mandela’s first.

Nobubele, who now speaks fluent Xhosa, gave birth to Qheya Zanethemba II late last year.


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