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Cape Town - Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, has prepared part of his homestead - the multimillion-rand Mvezo Great Place - as a place of pilgrimage for people keen to see the ailing statesman’s grave.
This was the argument in an affidavit signed by 16 Mandela relatives, including his eldest daughter, Makaziwe, his wife Graça Machel and his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela, in an application to the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha.
Mandla “constructed buildings” at Mvezo Great Place, hoping Nelson Mandela would be buried at Mvezo and not in Qunu.
“The first respondent (Mandla) wants to force the burial of Mr Nelson Mandela, when the time should come, at a place of the first respondent’s choosing. By securing the remains of Mr Mandela’s family, the first respondent hopes to secure the remains as to Mandela himself,” the family’s affidavit read.
Mandla established their remains in Mvezo, knowing Nelson Mandela wanted to be buried close to these remains, the family said.
That would enable Mandla to make money from Nelson Mandela’s death and benefit from his “illegal removal” of the graves.
He planned to derive income generated by visitors to Nelson Mandela’s gravesite, the affidavit said.
The attempt to have Mandela buried at Mveza would have “undermined” his wishes.
It was likely that the place of his burial would be a much-visited heritage site, and it was “conceivable that such a heritage site has a high potential to generate monetary gain”.
“Indeed, there is evidence to suggest the first respondent (Mandla) has already begun preparations at The Great Place, Mvezo, inclusive of the construction of buildings in furtherance of such gain.”
The family urged the court not to allow Mandla to “profit from his unlawful activity”.
“The remains of the three deceased in question must be returned in all haste to their lawful resting place.”
It has been reported by various newspapers during the past week that Mvezo Great Place has been upgraded to the tune of millions of rand.