Mandla will not pursue court case

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Mandla Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and the eldest grandson of Nelson Mandela. Picture: Helen Grange

* This story was updated at 12.10pm.

Mveso, Eastern Cape - Former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela will not take the court challenge involving the family's graves further, he said in Mvezo on Thursday.

"I was denied the right to be heard. I will not challenge this further, it will serve no purpose," he told reporters.

"In the past few days I have been the subject of attacks from all sorts of individuals wanting a few minutes of fame and media attention at my expense."

The Eastern Cape High Court on Wednesday dismissed Mandla Mandela's application to halt the exhumations of Mandela's three children. Mandla Mandela exhumed and moved the remains of the three from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011.

A group of Mandela family members approached the court to have the remains exhumed and moved back to the family graveyard in Qunu.

Mandla said he was disappointed by Wednesday's court decision and was convinced it was erroneous. He said he wanted to talk about the real reasons why the matter emerged and why his family had turned against him.

"This is the very family who has taken their own grandfather to court for his money. I called this press conference so that I could address a few matters circulating in the media."

He was referring to the court case by Mandela's two daughters, Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Dlamini, to have the directors of companies set up to manage royalties from the sale of Nelson Mandela's artworks removed from their posts.

Mandla said he was puzzled why the court case involving the family's graves had suddenly become urgent.

"I am struggling to date to understand why the matter has become so urgent. It has not been urgent in the past two years," he said.

"Particularly now that my grandfather is in a critical state in hospital, the issue of the court came as a surprise to me."

He reiterated that he held the right to determine where the country's former president, and his grandfather, could be buried.

"My grandfather reminded me that my first responsibility should be that of service to our people."

He said he was "duly installed" as chief of the Mvezo traditional council at a ceremony with his grandfather present, along with the current king and family.

"Individuals make claims against my legitimacy, they wait for all these years to do this. My grandfather did prophecise about these days."

He said Mvezo was an area still bedevilled by poverty and unemployment, with no sanitation and drinking water. There were many high school dropouts and a high incidence of HIV/Aids in the area, he said.

Mandla defended his right to lead the Mandela clan, detailing its the history and how a white magistrate removed its chieftancy.  - Sapa


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