No wedding for you, wife tells Mandela

22 December 2011 - 02:22 By KATHRYN KIMBERLEY

Former president Nelson Mandela's grandson, Mandla, will not say "I do" on Christmas Eve if his estranged first wife has her way.

It was just seven months ago that Tando Mabunu-Mandela had her husband's marriage to his French-speaking "bride", Anaïs Grimaud, declared illegal by a court and now she has vowed to do it again.

A KwaZulu-Natal woman, Nkosikazi Nodiyala - also known as Mbalenhle Makhathini - is next to face Mabunu-Mandela's ire.

In an urgent application to the Mthatha High Court on Tuesday night, Mabunu-Mandela warns Mandla Mandela's latest bride that she will suffer the same fate as the woman before her if she dares to go ahead with her wedding at Mvezo Great Place, near Mthatha, at the weekend.

If she fails to stop the ceremony, she has warned in court papers, that the union - whether civil or traditional - will be declared invalid.

The case goes to court today.

The application leaves little room for Nodiyala and Mandela to enjoy their marriage.

Mabunu-Mandela's advocate, David Smith, has asked the court to restrain the two from getting married on Saturday.

If this application fails, Smith wants the court to order the Department of Home Affairs - listed as the third respondent - to expunge the marriage from its records.

Last year, Mabunu-Mandela brought an 11th-hour application to the high court to prohibit her estranged husband from marrying 19-year-old Grimaud.

The application failed and the two duly got married.

Mabunu-Mandela had her revenge in May when the court declared the marriage illegal.

The judge ordered the Department of Home Affairs to expunge the marriage from its register.

Mabunu-Mandela and Mandela were married in community of property on June 21 2004. A traditional ceremony was held later in Mthatha.

She filed for divorce in 2009, asking for their assets to be divided. Divorce proceedings are still pending and the estranged couple are still at loggerheads regarding the R12500 monthly maintenance Mandela was ordered to pay.

Mabunu-Mandela claims Mandela has not paid her a cent.

The s heriff of the Port Elizabeth High Court attached R100000 of Mandela's assets this week - a minibus and several cattle.

Mabunu-Mandela said she became aware of the festive nuptials last week.

"On hearing the news, I instructed my attorneys to prepare an urgent application to interdict and restrain them from concluding and celebrating this wedding."

She said the wedding would not be legal in terms of civil law or Xhosa custom.

Mabunu-Mandela disputed earlier protests by Mandela that, as a traditional leader, he was entitled - and even obliged - to take more than one wife from the community of which he is a chief.

"While this trite statement may be of assistance to him in demonstrating that African customary law permits polygamy, the same does not hold true of a marriage celebrated according to civil law," Mabunu-Mandela said in court papers.

"While it is correct that, in African tribal law, a husband may take more than one tribal wife, this is of no assistance to [Mandela] because he has married me in terms of civil rights.

"A civil marriage and an African customary marriage can never co-exist contemporaneously between one spouse and his two different spouses."

Mabunu-Mandela said she did not want Nodiyala to lay claim to any of the money which should be hers.

She said the fact that Mandela sent out invitations last week was "invasive" of her rights.

She added that the media had shown an interest in Mandela's love life and that it was humiliating.

"My husband has continued in such a manner in attempting to marry [Nodiyala] despite full knowledge that he is still married to me, which has caused deep offence to me.

"He has flippantly tried to explain away his conduct by charging that he is a chief, that he is entitled to polygamy."

Though Mandela was given until 3.30pm yesterday to file notice of his intention to oppose the application, his lawyers did not give notice.

He was not available for comment.

A Mandela family spokesman has said that he intended taking another wife, Swazi Princess Siphiwayena Dlamini.