Family backs Winnie

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had the full support of her family regarding her criticism of the ANC, The Times newspaper reported on Thursday.

Madikizela-Mandela's granddaughter Swati Dlamini, also the daughter of Princess Zezani Mandela-Dlamini, said she understood why her grandmother was angry with the ruling party.

The NPA is planning to exhume what may be the bodies of two young men connected to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1987. File photo: Sizwe Ndingane. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

“I think there are some very valid points that she made,” Dlamini was quoted as saying.

Madikizela-Mandela criticised the ANC in a letter reportedly addressed to party spokesman Jackson Mthembu, stating the Mandela family only mattered when they were needed for “some agenda”. She said the ANC had abused the Mandela name.

The ANC MP and ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela reportedly wrote the letter in response to a request by Mthembu for a meeting on July 5 to discuss the ANC's centenary celebrations.

The meeting was also meant to address her travel to Limpopo where President Jacob Zuma gave a lecture honouring Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.

Madikizela-Mandela did not attend the event.

Ndileka Mandela, a granddaughter from Mandela's first marriage, instead delivered a message from her grandfather. However, it was delivered without the blessing of Madikizela-Mandela, and her daughters Zenani and Zindzi, The Times reported.

Mandela's wife Graça Machel also attended Tuesday's event.

In the letter, Madikizela-Mandela said the family was deeply hurt as they were not allocated a table at the ANC's centenary celebrations in Mangaung in January until Bridgette Radebe, wife of Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, intervened.

Madikizela-Mandela complained she had been sidelined during preparations for the celebrations and that she was reduced to being a spectator in 2011.

Mthembu would not comment on the matter. – Sapa