‘No funeral talk at Mandela meeting’

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Bantu Holomisa done Independent Newspapers Funeral arrangements for ailing former president Nelson Mandela were not discussed at a family meeting in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, according to United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa (pictured). File photo: Cindy Waxa

Johannesburg - Funeral arrangements for ailing former president Nelson Mandela were not discussed at a family meeting in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said on Wednesday.

“Yes, I can confirm that,” he told Sapa.

He declined to provide further information, referring queries to the Mandela family.

Holomisa attended Tuesday's meeting with the Mandela elders, Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela, his grandson Mandla Mandela, and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Holomisa gave the Mail&Guardian a more detailed account of the meeting.

“The purpose of the meeting was to brief the elders about Mandela's condition,” he was quoted as saying on the newspaper's website.

mandela village leaders Village leaders leave the house of former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu. Photo: Rogan Ward Reuters

“With some family members living in Johannesburg and others in the Eastern Cape, it becomes important to make sure everyone is kept up to speed with the developments.

“One does not want to leave the elders behind,” he reportedly said.

“They were not given any additional details on Mandela's condition.

“They were told exactly what President Jacob Zuma has told the nation... and it was not a shock to them.

“They have been monitoring his health and have been reading the newspapers.”

Holomisa told the Mail&Guardian the meeting had finished around 3pm.

He said the Mandela family in Johannesburg would continuously update the elders in the Eastern Cape. He denied claims that it was an “emergency” meeting.

According to the Mail&Guardian report, Holomisa said the meeting did not include talks about Mandela's funeral or any logistical issues surrounding his health.

Holomisa said plans for Mandela's funeral remained the responsibility of the government as he was a former president.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said on Tuesday that Mandela's doctors were continuing to do everything possible to help him recover and to keep him comfortable.

Holomisa reiterated this, telling the newspaper there were no new developments around Mandela's health.

Holomisa reportedly said he had been invited to the meeting in his capacity as a “family friend”, and there was nothing unusual about his attendance, as he had attended other Mandela family meetings in the past.

The Mail&Guardian reported that Holomisa and Mandela had a long-standing friendship, which had survived even Holomisa's expulsion from the ANC in 1996.

He was expelled for revealing ANC “irregularities” which occurred in the former Transkei under apartheid. - Sapa

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