Mandla Mandela has been charged with violating the graves of family members 	Picture: Cindy Waxa
Mandla Mandela has been charged with violating the graves of family members Picture: Cindy Waxa
Cape Town 130627. The Mandela family and 16 applicants appeared at Umtata high court after the family took mandla mandela to court for digging up the bodies of the family members that were buried in Qunu.Picture Cindy waxa. Reporter Henriette Geldenhuys.
Cape Town 130627. The Mandela family and 16 applicants appeared at Umtata high court after the family took mandla mandela to court for digging up the bodies of the family members that were buried in Qunu.Picture Cindy waxa. Reporter Henriette Geldenhuys.

Cape Town - Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, has been charged by the police with grave violation, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Wednesday.

“The charge is grave violation, not tampering,” Eastern Cape NPA spokesman Luxolo Tyali confirmed.

This comes as his grandfather Nelson Mandela, lies critically ill in a Pretoria hospital.

 

Tyali said the senior public prosecutor at the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court, Jacqueline Pretorius, was going through the grave violation police docket to see whether police had produced enough evidence to go ahead with the charge in court.

Statements were taken from at least 15 witnesses.

Tyali said Pretorius would decide by on Friday whether to prosecute Mandla, the traditional chief of Mvezo and an ANC MP.

“We are currently considering the docket and we will make a decision by Friday,” said Tyali.

Mandla allegedly illegally exhumed the remains of three of Nelson Mandela’s children - his sons Makgatho and Thembekile and daughter Makaziwe, who died as an infant - from Mandela’s homestead in Qunu in 2011, and reburied them at his homestead in Mvezo.

The Mthatha High Court last week ordered their remains to be returned to Qunu where they were reburied.

The branch commander of the Bityi police station, Captain Gwede Tyala, handed the grave violation docket against Mandla to Pretorius on Tuesday.

Eastern Cape police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said the docket was handed over late on Tuesday following statements from at least 15 witnesses.

Fatyela said members of Nelson Mandela’s family were the complainants in the case against Mandla.

 

He said there was more than one complainant but he declined to say how many or who they were. Tyali also said he could not reveal their names.

“The complainants are going to be the same people we are going to use as State witnesses and we have a duty to protect them,” said Tyali.

Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, and 15 other relatives, including Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, have accused Mandla in court papers before the Mthatha High Court last week of wanting to keep the relatives’ remains at Mvezo in the hope that Mandela would one day be buried alongside them in Mvezo.

They also accused Mandla of wishing to profit from the gravesite of Mandela and his three children by using it as a tourist attraction.

Last week, the remains of Mandela’s three relatives were returned to Qunu.

The court heard Nelson Mandela’s wishes were to be buried alongside his three children.

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Cape Argus