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Wed Sep 28 13:58:58 SAST 2016

Feuding Tutus call a truce after mediation

Philani Nombembe | 10 February, 2016 00:19
SETTLED: Leah and Desmond Tutu leaving the Cape Town Magistrate's court yesterday
Image by: Ruvan Boshoff

A last-minute truce yesterday between feuding members of retired archbishop Desmond Tutu's family has averted the prospect of dirty linen being aired in court.

Tutu and his wife Leah withdrew charges of malicious damage to property against their granddaughter, Ziyanda Tutu, 30, in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court.

A smiling Tutu and Leah left court holding hands after several hours of mediation, waving to the press.

Inside court Ziyanda appeared to be relieved when the charges were withdrawn.

She refused comment but her lawyer, Anèl du Toit, said: "The case was settled outside court amicably by all the parties.

"The charges have been dropped but obviously the conditions of the mediation are privileged and we will not make any comment on them."

Although the family kept quiet about the details, it is understood that the charges related to an incident at the Tutus' Milnerton home in which Ziyanda allegedly destroyed a prized tableware collection, worth R50000, with her grandmother's walking stick during a heated argument in May.

Last month, Ziyanda - a winemaker and cellar master - made representations to the prosecution to have charges withdrawn.

Tutu's spokesman, Roger Friedman, said: "We can confirm on behalf of the Tutu family that the matter has been amicably resolved."

Ziyanda's silence yesterday was in stark contrast to her attitude at the time of the incident, when she broke the news of her impending arrest on social network Twitter. In one of her tweets, posted in November, she said: "You probably would have killed someone in my situation."

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