Royal houses intervene in Mandela clan feud

The traditional royal houses have vowed to intervene in the Mandela family grave dispute.

The Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN

QUNU - The Ngubengcuka royal houses in the Eastern Cape on Monday voiced their concern over the Mandela family feud about gravesites and promised to intervene.

Sixteen members of the Mandela family filed an urgent application against Madiba's grandson Mandla in the Mthatha High Court on Friday.

It's believed the family wants the remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children to be moved back to Qunu from Mvezo after Mandla allegedly had them moved in 2011.

In a statement, royal family chairman Thanduxolo Mtirara said the AbaThembu Royal House will hold a meeting with other royal houses next week to try and resolve the matter.

Mtirara said they are deeply concerned the Mandela clan turned to the courts to resolve their dispute.

He said the royal family sees it as its responsibility to intervene and to bring harmony during this challenging period while Madiba remains in hospital undergoing treatment for a recurring lung infection.

After the application was filed the judge granted an order in the family's favour.

But lawyers involved in the dispute said the details were not for public consumption.

Chief Mandla Mandela said he was now compelled to defend himself.

His legal team is expected to launch a challenge into the court order.

Meanwhile, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, a friend of the Mandelas, attended a meeting in Qunu last week where the request to have the remains transported back to the village was discussed.

"Mandla did apologise when we were in the meeting. We left the meeting thinking that everything is going to be implemented as agreed to, to follow the Madiba tradition in removing those remains from Mvezo," Holomisa said.