Johannesburg - While Nelson Mandela lay on his deathbed, some of his children and grandchildren had the temerity to name themselves his heirs.
On Monday, the unvarnished truth was revealed, when his will was read to his relatives and presented to the media in Joburg.
Makaziwe Mandela, who once said “Nelson Mandela’s blood runs through these veins”, and led an expensive and embarrassing court challenge to unseat Mandela’s trustees – with the main purpose of channelling about R15 million from proceeds of Madiba’s handprints into accounts for the benefits of his children – received R3m. But this was to write off a debt she had incurred.
Mandla, who had the bones of his family secretly dug up at Qunu and reinterred at Mvezo, only for a court to force him to return them, lost his right of abode in Mandela’s Houghton house. He did, however, receive R3m.
Mandla and Makaziwe have also in recent times clashed over who was the head of the family.
The will reveals how, in 2004, Mandela stated that Mandla would have the right to reside in the Houghton property.
A year later, he revoked this bequest and instead said the following grandchildren – Ndaba, Mbuso and Andile – should be allowed to live in the residence.
Another loser is Mandela’s former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Mandela’s second wife, who stood by him through 27 years of imprisonment and kept vigil as he lay dying, was left nothing.
However, the woman who stood by him for the last 15 years of his life, Graça Machel, has, according to the will, 90 days to decide if she wants to waive her right to half of Mandela’s estate.
This, one of the executors of the will, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, explained was because the couple had married in community of property, and so was entitled to 50 percent of the estate.
If she waives her 50 percent stake, Machel stands to inherit four properties in Mozambique, vehicles, jewellery and all money in their bank accounts, which are registered in her name.
According to the will, Machel inherits any artefacts or artworks that she wishes to take from the Houghton residence. The value of these specific assets are not revealed in the will.
The will indicated that Mandela’s properties in Qunu and Houghton would be held in the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust and the Nelson Mandela Trust respectively.
In terms of the Houghton property, Mandela stated that it was his “wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after death”.
The initial assessment of Mandela’s estate, said Justice Moseneke, is about R46 million. This figure, the judge said, could change in the future.
On Monday, he stressed that this was a preliminary assessment, and the decision to make this public was for full transparency.
In an act of statesmanship beyond the grave, Madiba forgot no one in a 22-page executive summary that left some shocked and surprised when they learnt they were beneficiaries.
Loyal former personal assistant Zelda la Grange received R50 000. Housekeeper Gloria Nocanda, who worked for Madiba from 1993 to 1999, said she was shocked when told she was getting R50 000 from a man she had not seen in years.
Educational institutions also benefited: Wits University and Madiba’s Fort Hare University will both receive R100 000, to be made available for bursaries.
Schools that had touched Mandela during his long life also received R100 000. These included Qunu Secondary School, the Clarke Institution ( Clarkebury High School), Hilltown Institution (Healdtown Comprehensive High School) and Orlando West High School.
“The bequest is made in consideration of the role the pupils of Orlando West High School and its teachers played in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa,” the will states.
The party he loved for much of his life also stands to gain.
The ANC will receive royalties – owed to Mandela through royalties from his books and other projects – which will be for the “purpose of recording and/or disseminating information on the African National Congress principles and policies since 1912”.
There is a downside for those Mandela remembered: what they receive will be taxed.
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