Madiba estate executors meet over Winnie's Qunu bid

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FILE: A man herds sheep in Qunu where former president Nelson Mandela's childhood home is located.

JOHANNESBURG – The executors of Nelson Mandela’s estate will on Thursday meet to discuss Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s request for control of his family home in Qunu.

Madikizela-Mandela made legal representation to the executors in a lawyer’s letter - written on Mandela’s birthday – in which she claimed rightful ownership of the homestead for herself and her daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela.

She followed it up with a second letter asking for urgency on the matter, claiming concern for starving cattle on the Eastern Cape property.

Madiba’s estate executors – Judge President Themba Sangoni, Deputy Judge President Dikgang Moseneke and lawyer George Bizos – will on Thursday meet to discuss Madikizela-Mandela’s bid for Qunu.

Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer Mvuso Notyesi, who has said Madikizela-Mandela’s claim was "not an attack on his will but an assertion of customary and traditional rights", said they would await clarity from the executors.

Madikizela-Mandela, in her appeal, claims: “During 1989, when the late Mr Mandela was still in prison, Mrs Winnie Mandela sought and obtained a residential site in the Qunu Communal Land, from the Chiefs and King of the AbaThembu.

“And upon Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 the home became the house of Mr Nelson Mandela, Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and their children. Customarily, the property and the house became the house of Mrs Madikiizela as the second wife to the late Mr Nelson Mandela.”

Madikizela-Mandela argues that custom dictates that the property should go to her, the daughters she had with Mandela and their descendants. The couple was married for 38 years before their divorce which saw them reach an out-of-court settlement.

But Madikizela-Mandela’s request may be seen as being out of line with what Mandela wanted. She was not mentioned anywhere in his will.

The will clearly stated that the Qunu property was to become part of the NRM Family Trust for the benefit of “the Mandela family and my third wife and her two children” and that it be used to “preserve the unity of the Mandela family”.

Mandela has been buried at the Qunu homestead.

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