Johannesburg - Abathembu acting royal chairman Chief Thanduxolo Mtirara has expressed his disappointment at the Mandela family feud ending up in court.
In an interview with SAfm on Thursday morning, he said the conduct of some of Nelson Mandela's family members had shocked the elders and he urged an internal resolution to the feud.
“Speaking out in the media about names of the people that were laid to rest is something that perturbs (the royal house) and also affects us as the living ones. Even if Mandla Mandela won the case... there would be a necessity to pay respects to the ancestors,” Mtirara said.
“We are very concerned about the period, as the old man (Nelson Mandela) is in hospital and we are concerned about the way we are hearing from the media about the squabble in the Mandela family over the removing of the remains.
“It is something that the clan should sit down and agree amicably to do that ritual,” Mtirara said.
Responding to a question about a planned meeting between the royal house and members of the Mandela clan, Mtirara said “the meeting was cancelled because the purpose was no more there”.
He said the current situation was likely to affect Mandela negatively and that the outcome of the situation would be resolved had Mandela handled the matter.
Mtirara expressed concern over the public spat, saying many cultural customs were overlooked.
“It's not only about removing the remains... they've lost the most important part of the ritual. The most important part is the spiritual side of it. What is important is the ritual that is done before the remains are removed.”
He dismissed claims that Mandla Mandela was not the rightful heir to the Mvezo chieftancy, and said the allegations were insulting to the Abathembu king.
“As far as we know he (Mandla Mandela) is the only heir of the Mandela house. He was rightfully installed by the king of the Abathembu.”
Mandla Mandela will brief the media on Thursday, after losing his attempt to rescind a court decision compelling him to move the remains of his grandfather's children from Mvezo to Qunu.
He will speak to reporters in Mvezo, the village where he is the chief.
The Eastern Cape High Court dismissed his application as “frivolous” and upheld a court order made last week compelling him to return the remains of Mandela's children to Qunu.
He exhumed and moved the remains from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011.
A group of Mandela family members approached the court to have the bodies exhumed and moved back to the family graveyard in Qunu.
On Wednesday night, police said the remains had been found and taken to a mortuary. They would undergo forensic tests before being returned to Qunu. - Sapa