Nelson Mandela's Family In Burial Plot Feud

Nelson Mandela's Family In Burial Plot Feud

Nelson Mandela's grandson faces criminal charges after moving the remains of the former president's children from the family plot where the ailing apartheid icon wants to be buried.

A family feud has erupted after Mandla Mandela moved the bodies of three of the 94-year-old former president’s children from Qunu to Mvezo, where he plans to open a hotel.

Police said criminal charges of "tampering with a grave" had been pressed against Mandla Mandela over the exhumation of the bodies.

Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said: "A case is opened at the police station and we will now investigate that case."

Sixteen relatives have taken Mandla Mandela, 39, to court, claiming he did not seek permission to move the remains or inform family members when he did so.

Among them are Nelson Mandela's three daughters. His wife, Graca Machel, was also seen on a list of applicants at the court, although her spokeswoman has declined to comment on the case.

The court has issued an order calling for the bodies to be returned to Mr Mandela's ancestral village of Qunu, where his parents are also buried, by 2pm UK time on Wednesday.

However, Mandla Mandela, who has previously argued that Mr Mandela should be buried at his rural birthplace of Mvezo, on Tuesday asked the court to rescind the order.

A final decision is due to be made on Wednesday.

Mr Mandela remains critical in hospital in Pretoria, where he has been treated for a recurring lung infection since June 8.

Since then, there has been a groundswell of concern in South Africa and around the world for the man who spent 27 years as a prisoner under apartheid and then emerged to negotiate an end to white racist rule before becoming president.

The former president chose his grandson, Mandla, to be chief of Mvezo in the Eastern Cape six years ago, rather than accept the title himself.

Mandla has since overseen change including a new brick-paved road which has transformed the journey to the village.

A museum currently comprises a tiny outdoor display, but an impressive collection of tourism-orientated thatched buildings are under construction alongside offices of the traditional council and a conference centre.

Mandla Mandela's spokesman Freddy Pilusa told the news agency AFP that Mr Mandela "has no issues with the repatriation of any of those remains".

"But obviously it has to be done by those people who have the authority to do so," he added.

"Those things would have been decided in the family. But now they're not in the family. They're in the court."

The disputed remains were of Mandela's eldest son Thembekile who died in 1969, his nine-month-old infant Makaziwe who passed away in 1948, and Mandla's own father Magkatho, who died in 2005.

Meanwhile, former president FW de Klerk, who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr Mandela, has been discharged from hospital after an operation to install a pacemaker.

His personal assistant, Brenda Steyn, said Mr de Klerk will "recuperate at home", adding: "Everything is fine."

Mr de Klerk is the last leader of South Africa's apartheid era and freed Mr Mandela from prison before going on to serve as his deputy president.

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