MP and former wife to the first South African democratic president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will on November 20 petition the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) in Bloemfontein in a bid to be declared heir to the Qunu homestead.
In court papers The Star reported on this morning, Madikizela-Mandela is understood to be challenging the Mthatha High Court ruling, saying it erred in ruling that she could have reasonably known from 1997 that the property was registered in Madiba’s name.
It is reported Nelson Mandela’s estate executors, who include retired deputy chief executive Dikgang Moseneke, George Bizos and lawyer Themba Sangoni, have been cited as first respondents in the matter.
In May 2016, the executors left out the former president’s home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, out of the process of distributing Mandela’s assets as per his last will and testimony because his former wife was contesting ownership of the property in the courts. After the Mthatha High Court ruled that Madikizela-Mandela could not lay claim to the house, the house was allocated.
Chief Mandla Mandela, the head of the Mandela clan, is reported to have thrown his weight behind the executors in this latest court battle that pits Madikizela-Mandela against Grace Machel, the former Mozambique first lady who was married to Samora Machel.
Mandela died at the age of 95 on December 5, 2013, after suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection. In his will, Mandela left the Qunu house to the administration by the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela family trust, where the house will be used by his family, his widow, Graca Machel, and her two children.
“The matter is simple … As you know, the executors of the estate … As the family, we believe the matter is in reliable hands,” Chief Mandela is reported to have said by the publication.
The same sentiment was expressed by executor and former anti-apartheid stalwart Bizos, who has previously also stated the executioners would oppose any legal bid to alter the terms of Mandela’s will.
“The will did not provide for her [Madikizela-Mandela]; she must be disappointed…Their divorce was legal,” Bizos told media previously. He told the paper: “Yes, we’re opposing [it] … The court already knows about this [intention].”
It is reported that in the current fresh legal challenge Madikizela-Mandela is pursuing through the SCA, she maintains she has believed all along, and even after the divorce was finalised, that the property belonged to her as per provisions of the Customary Marriages Act. She also argued the property was built on a piece of land allocated to her in 1989.
Madikizela-Mandela argues in her affidavit that there was a “wealth of evidence” and eyewitnesses could attest that the land belonged to her, and that even after the divorce, she treated it as her home.
“There are more than 600 households at Qunu and, none have a deed of grant or title deed. There was neither publication not gazzetting done prior to the registration of the deed of grant in favour of the late Mandela,” the affidavit states.
Madikizela-Mandela, who was Mandela’s second wife, was left out of the will and did not receive anything from the estate.
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