3 Jul 2013

Relocation of Mandela remains ordered by court

9:49 am on 3 July 2013

A court in South Africa has ordered the return of the remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children to his ancestral village, following a family feud linked to the former president's eventual burial site.

A judge in the city of Mthatha instructed Mandela's eldest grandson Mandla to transfer the remains to Qunu by 3pm (local time) on Wednesday.

Mandla had the graves moved to Mvezo, about 30km away, without the rest of the family's consent in 2011.

Mr Mandela, who is now his fourth week in hospital, had expressed his wish to be buried in Qunu, and his daughters want to have the children's remains transferred so they can be together.

Mr Mandela's parents are also interred at the family gravesite in Qunu.

Previously the grandson has argued that Mr Mandela should be buried at his birthplace Mvezo, where Mandla holds court as clan chief.

The court order was issued in response to a request by 16 relatives of the revered leader, including two daughters and several grandchildren.

"I now rule that the respondent complies with the order to return the remains by 3pm on Wednesday," said Judge Lusindiso Pakade.

The remains are those of Mandela's eldest son Thembekile who died in 1969, his nine-month-old infant Makaziwe who passed away in 1948, and Mandla's own father Magkatho who died in 2005.

Mr Mandela has three surviving children.