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Victory is certain, says Winnie’s legal team

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Lawyers for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were expected to continue their argument in the high court in Mthatha on Tuesday, where they submitted an application to overturn a decision that she no longer has ownership of the Mandela property at Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

In his last will and testament, Nelson Mandela left the Qunu property to all members of the Mandela family as a place to unify them.

Madikizela-Mandela was left out of his will, released in February 2014, after his death on December 5, 2013.

Her lawyers filed papers during 2014 claiming that the property had been obtained while she was married to Mandela and belonged to her in terms of abaThembu custom.

Heading Madikizela-Mandela’s legal team is Mvuzo Notyesi, who said on Monday he was certain they would win the case.

“All we want is to win the case on behalf of our client, and that is to get the property back to her and nullify this decision,” said Notyesi.

Their chances of victory were good because there was no argument that Winnie had been married to Struggle icon Mandela, he said.

In August 2015, Madikizela-Mandela challenged Mandela’s estate through the high court in Mthatha.

Judge President Mampuru Makgoba said it was understood Madikizela-Mandela owned the property only by virtue of being Mandela’s wife, and she had no exclusive ownership of it.

In their argument, Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyers stated that they have the strong support of some abaThembu royal family members.

In April last year, Chief Zwelidumile Mbande filed an affidavit to the Mthatha High Court corroborating Madikizela-Mandela’s assertion that the land on which the property was built belonged to her.

The court was due to listen to further argument on Tuesday.

The abaThembu royal family’s spokesman, Chief Daludumo Mtirara, on Monday made a request to Madikizela-Mandela not to refer the matter to the high court.

“As an elder of the family and a person we highly respect, we humbly request her to consider referring the matter to the family before it goes to the court of law,” Mtirara said.

Madikizela-Mandela’s application was also opposed by Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development Gugile Nkwinti.

Graça Machel and the Nelson Mandela Trust were represented by their lawyers, which included George Bizos, one of the executors of Mandela’s will.

Bizos has slated Madikizela-Mandela for seeking the rights to Mandela’s home. He was quoted as saying “the will did not provide in anyway for her”.

[Source: IOL/ The Star/ ANA]
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