Madikizela-Mandela continues legal fight for Madiba's Qunu home

MAY 7, 2015

The former wife of late former President, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Wednesday filed affidavits in the Mthatha High Court as she continues her fight to claim the Mandela family home in Qunu, near Mthatha - even though she isn't mentioned in Madiba’s will.

Her lawyer, Advocate Mvuzo Notyesi, says there are two issues to consider about Madikizela's claim - the first is the assertion that the land was donated to her former husband, Madiba; and the second is the argument that a Civil divorce doesn’t terminate a customary marriage.

“When that home was built, it was built as a rural home village of the Mandelas,” Notyesi told eNCA’s News Night.

“It was for former president Mandela, mama Madikizela-Mandela and their children and generally in rural areas there are no title deeds.”

According to documents filed before the Mthatha High Court, the executors of the late Nelson Mandela estate are cited as first respondents while the Registrar of Deeds in Mthatha and Land Affairs Minister as second and third respondents respectively.

The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is fourth respondent and Nelson Mandela's widow, Graca Machel Mandela is the 7th respondent.

'Still married to Madiba'

Last year, Madikizela-Mandela, an ANC stalwart and member of the ANC's National Executive Committee, claimed that her divorce from Madiba was fraudulently obtained. She was married to Mandela for 38 years, including 27 years during which he was imprisoned.

"The certificate is clearly a fraudulent document and is quite obvious that [during] the divorce hearing the court was misled and the divorce order was obtained through fraud or misrepresentation," she submitted in her affidavit, according to the Daily Dispatch.

Although Madikizela-Mandela and Mandela were still married at the time of his becoming president of South Africa in May 1994, the couple had separated two years earlier. Their divorce was finalised on 19 March 1996, though she continued to be a presence in Mandela's life in later years despite his remarriage to Graça Machel in 1998.

Madikizela-Mandela claimed that she was not in the country when the divorce was finalised, and only saw the divorce order for the first time in August 2014!

She also pointed out inaccuracies in the marriage certificate which was issued by the then Republic of Transkei for the marriage in June 1958.

Madikizela-Mandela said the Transkei Republic did not exist in 1958 as "independence" was only granted in 1976. The signatures on the certificate did not belong to her or Mandela, she also alleges.

She says their marriage officer was Reverend Gamndana and not GGK Madikiza as stated on the certificate.

Nelson Mandela committed ‘land fraud’

She also claimed Mandela may have committed land fraud when he registered a plot of land in Qunu, in his own name.

Madikizela-Mandela said that the abaThembu King, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, gave her the land while Mandela was in prison.

Opposition 

The abaThembu Royal family maintains that Madikizela-Mandela has no right to claim anything from the estate of Mandela.

In November, President Jacob Zuma filed court papers opposing Madikizela-Mandela having access to government documents relating to Qunu property.

The executors of Madiba's estate in December said that they will oppose Madikizela-Mandela's, court bid to get the Qunu home.

"The executors in the estate of the late Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela have resolved to oppose the claim filed by Mrs Nomzamo Winifred [Winnie] Mandela in the Eastern Cape High Court, Mthatha," Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said in a statement.

In January this year, the Eastern Cape High Court struck her urgent application to halt a meeting of the Mandela family on the matter off the roll. The judge ruled that Madikizela-Mandela should have included the executors of Madiba's will in her application.

Madikizela-Mandela later said in a statement that the judge in Mthatha refused her access to courts and justice.

"As I indicated before, I shall remain respecting courts and their decisions but reserve the right to exhaust all available remedies," she said.