Qunu set for reburial

The remains will first have to undergo forensic tests for identification purposes.

Mandla Mandela's gate was forced open by order of the High Court of Mthatha on Wednesday. The remains were exhumed and will undergo identification tests before being reburied in Qunu. Picture: EWN.

QUNU - The remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children will be reburied this morning in Qunu, Eastern Cape.

This follows a bitter court battle between the former President's eldest grandson Mandla and sixteen other members of the family.

Relatives took Mandla to court after he illegally exhumed the remains from Qunu in 2011 and relocated them to Mvezo.

He did so without consulting the family.

A final order was granted against him on Wednesday in the Mthatha High Court.

The remains were exhumed on Wednesday night and are being kept at a local mortuary.

They will first have to undergo forensic tests for identification purposes.

The sheriff of the court had to force his way onto Mandla's property using a pickaxe.

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 in unmarked sites on Mandla's property.

Mandla was nowhere to be seen.

He did however issue a statement shortly after the court proceedings saying he was disappointed by the outcome.

He added his name has been tarnished by the debacle.

Mandla will tell his side of the story at a press briefing on Thursday morning in Mvezo.

"SCANDALOUS AND VICIOUS"

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

Makaziwe Mandela and two other family members embraced their lawyers after the judge handed down his ruling.

Mandla's spokesperson Freddy Pilusa said, "The chief has never been opposed to the repatriation of the remains. He's gone on record on several occasions saying that. He has been taken to court and he had to respond. The chief respects the law."

The matter has revealed deep rifts in the Mandela family.

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 reccurring lung infection on 8 June.