NELSON Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, is in hot water yet again – this time for allegedly failing to pay his estranged first wife’s court-ordered maintenance.
Tando Mabunu-Mandela laid a criminal complaint against the ANC MP last week, after he allegedly emptied the bank accounts from which she was being paid, despite a court order freezing almost R3-million of the total amount in the accounts.
Mandela could be jailed for up to a year if found guilty.
Nearly R6-million is allegedly missing from the two accounts, of which half was frozen by the Mthatha High Court in December.
The money was allegedly transferred into the account of Mandela’s infant son from his second marriage, which has since been annulled.
Mandela and Mabunu-Mandela were married in community of property in 2007, and she claims that half of the assets accumulated during their brief union belong to her.
She filed for divorce in 2009 and the two have been fighting it out in court ever since.
Mandela’s legal representative, Gary Jansen, blamed the media yesterday for the delay in the divorce proceedings.
He refused to comment further.
The Mthatha High Court ordered the former chief to pay Mabunu-Mandela maintenance of R12500 a month, and to contribute towards her legal fees pending finalisation of the divorce.
However, her lawyer, Wesley Hayes, said Mandela had failed to honour the court order.
On numerous occasions last year, Hayes was forced to obtain a writ from the court instructing the sheriff to attach Mandela’s assets, which included vehicles and livestock.
Hayes said the process had become too expensive and, in December, he had obtained a court order freezing half of the cash in Mandela’s accounts.
This came to an amount of nearly R3-million.
The bank had been served with a copy of the court order.
If Mandela failed to pay the maintenance, the sheriff would go to the bank two or three months later and withdraw the money owed.
Hayes said Mabunu-Mandela was now owed just under R50000.
But due to the accounts allegedly being emptied last month, the sheriff had been unable to recover the money due to her.
Hayes said he was still not sure where the money was.
He said he was in talks with the bank and would consider laying a contempt complaint against them if the R3-million was not recovered.
Mabunu-Mandela had, in desperation, laid a criminal complaint against Mandela at the Bityi police station in Mthatha on Thursday.
Police confirmed yesterday that a case had been opened at the police station and said the matter was being investigated.
This is the latest in a string of charges facing Mandela as a result of the bitter divorce battle.
There is a pending application for him to be held in contempt after he defied the Mthatha High Court in December to marry his third bride.
Meanwhile, Mandela has until Friday to file papers opposing the possible annulment of his marriage to the young KwaZulu-Natal woman.
His second marriage to Anais Grimaud was annulled by the Mthatha High Court in 2010.
But the two still live together as husband and wife with their young son.