Questions raised why ex-wife took so long over Qunu issue
EXECUTORS of the estate of former president Nelson Mandela have described Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s claim over his Qunu home as confusing and opportunistic.
They are demanding to know why Mandela’s ex-wife waited for the former statesman to die before making the claim, knowing that he would not be able to defend himself from beyond the grave. On Monday, Mandela’s lawyer and long-time friend, George Bizos, filed papers opposing MadikizelaMandela’s claim in the Mthatha High Court.
He filed on behalf of the three men Mandela entrusted with executing his will, namely Bizos, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Judge Themba Sangoni.
Madikizela-Mandela filed the claim after it emerged that the global icon had left her out of his will following his death in December 2013.
“The applicant opportunistically waited until the death of Mr Mandela to assert her claim on the Qunu property without any valid explanation why she could not have asserted it during his lifetime.
“The relief sought is diffuse and in some places confusing,” the executors say in the papers.
Last week, Land Affairs Minister Gugile Nkwinti dismissed Madikizela-Mandela’s claim that she had not been aware the house was registered in Mandela’s name.
Madikizela-Mandela has said that she merely accommodated Mandela, who spent 27 years behind bars on Robben Island.
She also bases her claim on the fact that she was still married to Mandela by virtue of the customary marriage, but Bizos disputes this.
“The applicant asserts a connection between her alleged customary acquisition of the property and the customary marriage she relies on,” he said.
“I submit that she could not lawfully rely on the customary marriage to assert a right of ownership to the property.
“The consequences of the customary marriage have been superseded by the valid conclusion of the civil marriage and its subsequent dissolution,” the executors say in the papers.
Bizos said there were no grounds for Madikizela-Mandela’s accusation that Mandela had unduly exerted his influence as the country’s president to secure the property.
“The suggestion that Mr Mandela improperly influenced the transfer of the property stands to be rejected as being devoid of any factual grounding.”