Nelson Mandela's eldest grandson Mandla Mandela and Tando Mabunu in a file photo. Picture: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - Mandla Mandela's ability to have children has been thrown into question by his estranged wife, Tando Mabunu-Mandela.

The Sowetan reports that Mabunu-Mandela has filed papers in the Mthatha High Court claiming he is infertile.

The newspaper reports that Mabunu-Mandela made the claim in a replying affidavit in an action to nullify Mandela's third marriage.

Mandela's third marriage to a young KwaZulu-Natal woman, Nkosikazi Nodiyala-Mandela, is described as bigamous in the affidavit.

Mandela ignored a court interdict against marrying Nodiyala - formerly known as Mbalenhle Makhathini - and a traditional ceremony was held at Mvezo Great Place on Christmas Eve last year.

After Mabunu-Mandela asked the court to declare the marriage null and void, Mandela then filed an answering affidavit opposing her application, saying he needed to take another wife for traditional reasons.

But the Sowetan reports that Mabunu-Mandela filed papers in the same court on Tuesday, saying Mandela was unable to have children and therefore his main reason for the latest marriage was pointless.

“In this respect, I assert that the first respondent [Mandela] has in any event fertility issues which render him incapable of producing an heir through natural conception,” she said in the papers.

Mandela could not be reached for comment and his Cape Town-based attorney, Gary Jansen, could also not be reached, the newspaper said. - IOL