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Estranged wife eyes R3m left to Mandla Mandela by Madiba

16 February 2014 - 11:31 By Bongani Mthethwa

Lawyers representing Mandla Mandela's estranged wife have set their sights on the R3-million Nelson Mandela left his eldest grandson in his will.

Tando Mabunu-Mandela's lawyer, Wesley Hayes, said they would be looking into the trust that holds the money that Mandela bequeathed to Mandla to see what it says about his inheritance.

"For now, we're continuing with the divorce proceedings," said Hayes.

Mabunu-Mandela did not comment on the divorce or Mandla's R3-million "because my divorce matter is still sub judice".

Mandla did not respond to requests for comment.

The Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust will decide whether Mandla should receive the capital and interest.

Asked how a claim could be made from the trust and what process Mandla's estranged wife would need to follow, advocate George Bizos, one of the three executors of the will, said: "Matters of the family are private."

Mabunu-Mandela and Mandla have been embroiled in a bitter divorce since 2009. They were married in community of property in 2004. Mabunu-Mandela claims she is entitled to half of Mandla's assets.

In court papers, she said Mandla earned R700000 a year as an MP and R800000 a year from a freight company and had more than R5-million in bank accounts.

Mandla declared in the parliamentary register that he had shares and interests in eight companies. This includes Sekunjalo Investment Holdings - owners of Independent Newspapers - through the Mvezo Development Trust.

He has a palace in Mvezo and owns cattle and vehicles.

He pays his estranged wife maintenance of R12500 a month and contributes to her legal fees.

Two years ago, Mabunu-Mandela laid a complaint with the police against Mandla after he allegedly emptied the bank accounts from which she was being paid maintenance.

This was despite a court order freezing almost R3-million in the accounts. Nearly R6-million was alleged to be missing from the two accounts, of which half was frozen by the High Court in Mthatha.

On numerous occasions, Mabunu-Mandela's lawyers have obtained a writ to attach Mandla's assets to recover money owed. Since the start of the divorce case, she has had his cattle attached, half of his bank accounts frozen and two of his marriages annulled.

The most recent marriage to be annulled was that between Mandla and his third wife, Mbali Makhathini, of Pietermaritzburg. He married her in 2011 in defiance of a court order. Mabunu-Mandela laid a complaint of bigamy against him.

Before that, Mandla's second marriage, to French-speaking Anais Grimaud of Reunion Island in 2010, was also annulled by the high court.

Mandla previously accused his estranged wife of intentionally delaying the divorce despite his attorney making a "generous" offer to her lawyers as a final settlement.

He had also in the past said the courts should decide on a settlement.