Cape Town – The finalisation of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s will is being delayed over his ex-wife’s legal battle over his Qunu home.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who is recovering in a Johannesburg hospital following a second back operation in as many months, is appealing an Mtata High Court decision that ruled that she has no claim on the residence where he was born and buried.
She sparked an outcry last year, when she launched a legal challenge against the estate, with her lawyers claiming that her divorce from the former President was fraudulently obtained.
Mandela’s lawyer Advocate George Bizos, who is also recuperating in hospital after falling this week, said the will which was completed in 2014 cannot be executed because of the legal tangle.
Bizos, who represented the world statesman at his famous Treason Trial in the 1960s, confirmed that Madikizela-Mandela has filed a notice of an application to appeal the ruling, which we are going to oppose.
He added that once that matter is resolved, “we will deal with the will.”
The will which was first written in 2004 and last amended in 2008 excluded Madikizela-Mandela.
He left an estate worth about 3 million dollars to his children and grandchildren, staff and the African National Congress (ANC).
Madikizela-Mandela, who carried the hopes of black South Africans during Mandela’s lengthy imprisonment, was married to him for 38 years.
Although they were still married when Mandela became president of South Africa in May 1994, they had been separated since 1992 after she had a high-profile affair.
Their divorce was finalised in 1996.
Mandela, who remarried former Mozambican First Lady Graca Machel on his 80th birthday, excluded Madikizela-Mandela from his will. He died in 2013.