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Mandela legal battle underway

The Judge earlier ruled that media will be allowed in court for the Mandela family case.

Mandela family advocate David Smith. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN

MTHATHA - Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe has arrived at the Mthatha High Court where her case against Mandla Mandela is being heard.

Makaziwe and 15 other relatives brought an urgent application to the court on Friday.

They want the remains of three of Madiba's children to be moved from Mvezo to Qunu. Mandla reportedly moved them without consulting the family in 2011.

Photographers began snapping away as Makaziwe, Ndileka and Ndaba walked into courtroom A.

The court heard according to the order granted on Friday, if Mandla did not return the remains by Tuesday the sheriff of the court would exhume the bodies.

Advocate David Smith initially wanted the deadline to be at 4pm. However, after considering both sides, Judge Lusindiso Phakade amended the order.

The deadline was extended to 3pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier, the judge also ruled that the matter will be heard in an open court.

Judge Phakade said he received representations from the South African Editors' Forum (Sanef) to allow media to attend proceedings.

Television crews have already been set up inside the courtroom.

When the application was brought, lawyers would not comment about the details of the case because it was deemed private.

But those details are expected to be revealed when the matter resumes later this afternoon.

Lawyers Wesley Hayes and David Smith who represent the 16 applicants were first to arrive in court earlier.

Mandla's legal team arrived later and walked straight into the courthouse.

On Friday, Judge Phakade granted an order in favour of the applicants which were kept under wraps.

However, it has exposed a rift in the Mandela family.

Meanwhile, Mandela's grandson Ndaba has spoken out about his half-brother Mandla, describing him as a power hungry, self-obsessed man. He was speaking to the Daily Dispatch.

Mandla over the weekend expressed shock at the family's decision to take the matter to court, saying it was against their custom.

He said he was "regrettably and reluctantly" compelled to go to court and respond to the court action.

This comes as the former president is receiving treatment for a reoccurring lung infection at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

The Presidency on Monday released an update saying Madiba's condition remained critical but stable.