Mandela bodies exhumed

The sheriff of the court had to force his way onto Mandla Mandela’s property using a pick-axe.

A black hearse waiting at Mandla Mandela’s Mvezo home in the Eastern Cape. Picture:  Regan Thaw/EWN

MVEZO, EASTERN CAPE - The remains of three of former president Nelson Mandela's children have now been exhumed in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape.

This after the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha ruled against Mandla Mandela, ordering him to return the remains to Qunu.

Speaking in court on Wednesday, the judge found his actions to be "scandalous" and "vicious".

On Friday, 16 members of the Mandela family lodged the application against Mandla.

He was given until 3pm on Wednesday to carry out the order.

But when Mandla failed to comply, the sheriff of the court had to force his way onto the property using a pick-axe.

A cavalcade of three hearses drove into Mvezo, accompanied by members of the Mandela family to oversee the exhumation.

Authorities spent around an hour searching the property for any remains.

Police confirmed the remains were located and were in unmarked sites on Mandla's property.

Officials will now take the remains to a local mortuary.

Mandla said he wanted to tell his side of the story at a public briefing on Thursday morning.

Shortly after Wednesday's ruling, Mandla said he was disappointed with the outcome.

It is still unclear if he will push ahead with further court action.

Meanwhile, a court affidavit filed in Mthatha has confirmed that Mandela's health is perilous and he is being assisted in breathing by a life support machine.

The 94-year-old was admitted to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital due to a reoccurring lung infection on 8 June.

The Mail&Guardian is quoting an affidavit which forms the core of the Mandela family feud.

The affidavit filed by Mandela's eldest surviving daughter, Makaziwe, reveals the extent of the statesman's condition.