Estate: Trust steers clear of Mandela’s will battle

As former President Nelson Mandela’s family fights to stop the sale of some of his most prized possessions from his home in Houghton, the trust responsible for protecting his artefacts has allegedly distanced itself from the furor. The saga saw the last-minute scramble to stop the auction in New York of Mandela’s prized possessions from his personal home. ‘The very same people Mandela trusted, are the people (who) have tried to take from Mandela, used Mandela and benefited from Mandela to the detriment (of) his own family,’ alleges the former statesman’s grandson Ndaba. The Mail & Guardian reports that disputes within the Mandela family have resurfaced after the cancellation of an auction that could have seen some of his valuable memorabilia sold off at Guernsey’s in New York. They included a bronze cast of his fist, personal paintings, the key to his Robben Island prison cell and a signed copy of SA’s 1996 Constitution.

Ndaba claims the auction was only part of a larger scheme intended to see his Houghton house sold and its occupants evicted. However, his will stated that the house would continue to be a family home: ‘As I have during my lifetime provided accommodation for all my other children, but not for my son Makgatho Lewanika Mandela, I bequeath my shares in and claims against Iterele Investment and the movable assets of my estate in or on the Houghton property to the NRM (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela) Family Trust.’ The M&G report notes the house is the responsibility of Mandela’s company, Iterele Investments. Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke serves on its executive. Municipal costs and maintenance of the house are covered by the NRM Family Trust, on which Advocate Wim Trengove serves as a trustee, as did the late George Bizos.

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