Sunday, February 9, 2014

Court annuls Mandla Mandela's third marriage

Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, attending a gathering of traditional leaders from all over the country in Pretoria on November 5, 2009. PHOTO | ALEXANDER JOE | FILE

Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, attending a gathering of traditional leaders from all over the country in Pretoria on November 5, 2009. PHOTO | ALEXANDER JOE | FILE  AFP

By AFP
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JOHANNESBURG

A South African court has annulled the third marriage of Nelson Mandela's eldest grandson Mandla to a Swazi princess following an application from his estranged first wife, his lawyer said Saturday.

Mandla, a member of parliament and traditional chief, lost the case against his first wife Tando Mabunu-Mandela after a two-year legal battle, his lawyer Gary Jansen said.

"That is correct. It was yesterday (Friday)," he told AFP, declining to elaborate.

A family spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Mabunu-Mandela sought the annulment after her husband ignored a court ban to marry Mbali Makhathini in December 2011.

A few months earlier she had already had his second marriage to a woman from Reunion island declared invalid on similar grounds.

BITTER DIVORCE FEUD

The pair are currently locked in a bitter divorce feud, and Mandla's neglect to pay maintenance has elicited an arrest warrant and a seizure of assets.

While polygamy is legal under South African tribal law, a man cannot have different wives under both tribal law and under civil law. Mabunu-Mandela and Mandla were married in a civil union.

Mandla has repeatedly made the headlines over the years for his colourful private life and various disputes with his relatives.

In one high-profile controversy last year, Mandla was ordered by a court to return the remains of his grandfather's deceased children after he moved them without the family's permission. The court order came as Nelson Mandela lay gravely ill in hospital. (READ: Charges against Mandela grandson dropped)

Mandla then launched a televised tirade against his relatives, accusing them of trying to benefit financially from the Mandela name. He also said his brother had impregnated his second wife.

In January he appeared in court on assault charges after pointing a gun at a teacher during a road rage incident.

Peace icon Nelson Mandela was renowned around the world for his politics of reconciliation after spending 27 years in jail for opposing white minority rule.

He died aged 95 in December.

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