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Johannesburg - Today, finally, we may know what Nelson Mandela is worth.
The dying wishes of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon were to be revealed at midday at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, according to the Constitutional Court.
“The executors in the estate… invite you to a media briefing on the contents of his last will and testament,” Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said late on Sunday, nearly two months after Mandela died on December 5.
A spokeswoman for the foundation, Danielle Melville, said: “I don’t know if the entire document will be read, but certainly it will be summarised.”
Since two of Mandela’s daughters took the trustees of Mandela’s businesses to court last year, there has been a great deal of speculation as to just how wealthy the former president was.
According to the court papers in that case, it was suggested that businesses linked to artworks of Mandela’s handprint, as well as three trusts, hold millions of rand.
But a City Press report on the family’s infighting after he died suggested the former statesman survived on money from benefactors that dried up when he became ill.
So was Mandela extremely wealthy or as poor as a church mouse, relying on others to pay his bills?
The reading of Mandela’s will might shed some light on just what he owned and who his beneficiaries will be.
In December, the three executors of Mandela’s will were named.
The last version of his will was finalised in 2005.
Justice Moseneke, advocate George Bizos and Eastern Cape Judge President Themba Sangoni were named as executors of the will.
The last version of the will was finalised when Mandela dropped Ismail Ayob as his attorney.
It was discovered that Ayob had drafted a will on Mandela’s behalf and had named himself as administrator of Mandela’s assets and wealth. It was also revealed that Ayob had started various companies in Mandela’s name and had appointed himself the sole director.
Last April, as the nation prayed for an ailing Mandela to get better, The Star revealed that Mandela’s daughters Makaziwe and Zenani Mandela wanted to sue for the rights to Madiba’s artworks and control of alleged vast sums of money contained in various entities.
The daughters, supported by Mandela’s grandchildren, applied to court to have advocate George Bizos, Tokyo Sexwale and lawyer Bally Chuene removed from Harmonieux Investment Holdings and Magnifique Investment Holdings.
The companies were set up by Mandela’s former lawyer, Ayob.
Their main purpose was to channel proceeds of Madiba’s handprints into the accounts of the companies for Mandela and his children’s benefit.
The proceeds were estimated to be more than R15 million.
The daughters claimed in their application that Bizos, Sexwale and Chuene were never appointed major directors or shareholders.
Bizos said Makaziwe and Zenani had brought the application to “get their hands on the money”.
He said that Makaziwe wanted them to hand over to her R12m to distribute to the family, which they said was contrary to the provisions of the trust.
The Star, Sapa-AFP