Nelson Mandela has left his family, the African National Congress, local schools and his former staff well off according to his will which was read today in South Africa. In a press conference, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said that the will prescribes the division of approximately $4.1 million. The Nelson Mandela Foundation was the location for the revelation of the anti-apartheid hero’s dying wishes.
In addition to the stated beneficiaries, some of the estate will be split between three trusts set up by Mandela. One of the trusts is to provide for his 30 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The reading of the will is widely expected to set off another round of court battles and squabbling within his large family.
The estate includes a house in Johannesburg, a home in rural Eastern Cape and royalties form various book sales, including his best-selling autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”.
Two of Mandela’s daughters took estate trustees to court in 2013. There has been a great deal of squabbling between some of the family and the trustees regarding the amount of actual wealth the former president had. According to court documents related to last years’ case, there are millions of dollars at stake. In a City Press report about the family’s infighting, the former statesman lived on donations from supporters and that financial support ceased when he fell ill.
Observers often saw Mandela as being either extremely wealthy or extremely poor. The revealing of Mandela’s had been hoped to throw some light on just what he owned and who he owed.
Mandela’s will, which was finalized in 2005, named Justice Moseneke, George Bizos and Themba Sangona as the will’s executors. The latest version of the will was finalized when Mandela discharged Ismail Ayob as his attorney.
Ayob had drafted a will on Mandela’s behalf and named himself sole administrator of Mandela’s wealth. Later it was revealed that Ayob had created several companies in Mandela’s name and appointed himself as sole director.
In April 2013, as South Africa gathered to pray for the ailing Mandela, The Star reported that Mandela’s daughters, Makaziwe and Zenani, were preparing to sue to get the rights to Mandela’s artworks. The daughters, with the support of Mandela’s grandchildren, filed court papers to have attorney George Bizos, Tokyo Sexwale and Bally Chuene removed from the holding company which held the artworks’ rights. The value of the artworks at the time was estimated to be higher than $15 million.
The daughters stated in their application that the three, Bizos, Sexwale and Chuene, were never appointed by their father as directors or shareholders. The daughters claimed that the three had only wanted to get their hands on the money that might end up being distributed to the family.
With the reading of Nelson Mandela’s will complete, the real infighting may have just begun.
By Jerry Nelson