Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela. File picture: Kim Ludbrook

Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela did not leave anything to his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in his will but she is provided for through his well-endowed trusts.

In trust deed documents in the possession of the Sunday Tribune, Madikizela-Mandela is identified as a beneficiary in the NRM Family Trust, which Mandela created in March 1996, the year the couple divorced and when he was still president of the country, and which is believed to be the most lucrative of all his trusts.

According to the deeds, the net income of the trust is to be applied “for the maintenance of or in payments to any one or more of Mandela, his wife, widow, former wife, descendants and surviving and former spouses of descendants”.

Madikizela-Mandela is his only surviving ex-wife (his first wife, Evelyn Mase, died 10 years ago) and she could therefore dip into the trust account, if necessary. Her finances have not always appeared healthy and in May the 76-year-old ANC veteran fell on hard times when she failed to pay school fees for her niece at Abbotts College.

Though a date was set for the sheriff to auction off some of the possessions of her Soweto home, a settlement was reached at the eleventh hour.

The value of the NRM trust’s income is unknown but is thought to be considerable. It owns the income from a number of companies, as well as royalties. When Madiba’s will was made public last month, his estate, which does not include the various trusts, was given a value of R46 million.

Much was made at the time about the omission of Madikizela-Mandela from the will and in the days after it was read, her youngest daughter Zindzi came to her mother’s defence, saying she had never expected to gain from it.

“She never attended the reading of the will as she didn’t regard herself as a beneficiary,” Zindzi said on Twitter. “Why would she expect to be maintained after his passing when she was never maintained during his lifetime?” she said, suggesting that Madikizela-Mandela is not aware that she is a beneficiary of the NRM Trust.

Madikizela-Mandela may also be a beneficiary of two other trusts Madiba created. According to sections 11.1 of the Nelson Mandela Trust, which was created in 2001, and the Mandela Trust (created two years later in 2003), the trusts’ incomes are intended “for the maintenance of or in payments to any one of more of Mandela, Mandela’s spouse, former spouse descendants and surviving and former spouses of descendants and siblings”.

Though the wording is vague, the deeds suggest Madikizela-Mandela may also be a beneficiary of those trusts. Their value is unknown, but in 2004 alone, the Nelson Mandela Trust received R19.53m in donations.

Sunday Tribune