In August, Madikizela-Mandela challenged former president Nelson Mandela’s estate in the Mthatha High Court. She also claimed the property had been obtained while she was married to Mandela and belonged to her in terms of AbaThembu custom.
Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer, Mvuzo Notyesi, told The Citizen he believed she was entitled to the home. “I don’t know when the matter [on the case filed in August] will be heard in court … We will know next week. We are filing more papers, but I cannot say when we will submit them,” he said.
Notyesi would not immediately provide full details on the latest phase of the legal action.
In his last will and testament, Mandela left the Qunu property to all members of the Mandela family as a place to unify them. Madikizela-Mandela, who was the former struggle icon’s wife for 38 years, was left out of his will, which was released in February last year after his death on December 5, 2013.
The spokesperson for the Aba-Thembu royal family, Daludumo Mtirara, said Mandela’s home belonged to his children and his widow, Graca Machel. He said the royal family was aware some of its members had been enticed to write affidavits in support of the attempts to claim the property from the family.
“We cannot comment on that matter. We will wait and see, but nobody can come out and claim anything from the property of a person who is no more,” said Mtirara.
Constitutional law expert Shadrack Gutto described the legal war over Madiba’s home as a complex matter, saying it could only be clarified and decided in a court of law.
“The complication for Madikizela-Mandela is that she did not file the court papers while Mandela was still alive,” said Gutto.
“Traditional leaders also seem to be speaking with a ‘taboo tongue’. Some are saying she is entitled to the property, while others disagree.”