Winnie was still married to Mandela: lawyers

Crime & Courts

Port Elizabeth – Judgement was reserved in the Mthatha High Court on Tuesday in the civil case of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who is attempting to seek the rights to former president Nelson Mandela’s home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer, Mvuzo Notyesi, told ANA that their legal argument related to customary law.

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Nelson Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison in this February 11, 1990 file photo. REUTERS/Photo by Ulli Michel

Lawyers for Madikizela-Mandela have argued that despite the couple’s divorce in 1996  after 38 years of marriage, the customary marriage between the two had remained intact.

Read: Victory is certain, says Winnie's legal team

Advocate George Bizos, who is one of the executors of former president Nelson Mandela’s will, earlier slammed Winnie-Madikizela Mandela for seeking the rights to Mandela’s home in Qunu.

Bizos said that that they would oppose Madikizela-Mandela’s claim as she did nothing for 17 years after the property was registered in Nelson Mandela’s name.

Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyers filed papers during 2014 and are claiming that the property had been obtained while she was married to Mandela and belonged to her in terms of AbaThembu custom.

Read: Fight for Mandela’s Qunu home continues

In his last will and testament, Nelson Mandela left the Qunu property to all members of the Mandela family as a place to unify them.

Madikizela-Mandela was left out of his will, which was released in February 2014, after his death on December 5, 2013.

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