Mandela’s Grandson to Fight Court Order to Rebury Bodies

Nelson Mandela’s grandson will ask a South African court to overturn an order to exhume the bodies of three of the former president’s children and rebury them in Mandela’s home village, his attorney said.

Mandla Mandela planned to ask the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha to hear arguments in the matter, Gary Jansen, his lawyer, said in an interview on Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA. Earlier today, the court ordered he return the remains to Qunu, in Eastern Cape province, by this afternoon, Jansen said.

The court application was made by family members, including Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe, after Mandla had the bodies moved to Mvezo village, where he is the tribal chief, two years ago, Johannesburg-based City Press reported on June 30.

Police and three hearses entered Mvezo after breaking open gates to the property, according to footage on eNCA. Criminal charges have also been laid against Mandla by family members for moving the bodies, eNCA said, citing police.

“He has a right to state his case before the court,” Jansen said. “He has asked the court to rescind the judgment.”

The family spat comes as 94-year-old Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, remains critically ill in a Pretoria hospital. He was admitted to the intensive-care unit on June 8 to treat a recurring lung infection. President Jacob Zuma said on July 1 that Mandela’s condition is still critical, though stable.

Mandela spent 27 years in jail for opposing white minority rule under apartheid, most of that time on Robben Island, where he contracted tuberculosis.

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