Nelson Mandela

Family feud over where to bury Nelson Mandela grows

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 3:52am

Former South African president Nelson Mandela remained in a critical condition in hospital yesterday as a family feud over his burial site intensifies and the ruling party defends itself against claims it exploited him.

Mandela's grandson, Mandla, said he would contest a court application brought against him by some family members, without disclosing details of the case. The Johannesburg-based City Press reported that the court application relates to the reburial of Mandela's three children in his home village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province. Mandla had the remains moved to Mvezo village, according to the newspaper.

Mandela, 94, has been in hospital since June 8 to receive treatment for a lung infection.

The ruling African National Congress has also come under attack from Mandela's ex-wife Winnie for an April photo session that President Jacob Zuma had with Mandela as he recovered from a bout of pneumonia, Winnie said in an interview with the UK's ITV News. The ANC was unaware the family were unhappy about the visit, according to the South African Press Association.

Mandela remained in a "critical but stable" condition, South Africa's presidency said yesterday, adding South Africans should begin planning for the former leader's 95th birthday on July 18.

Over the weekend, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu said South Africans were praying for Mandela's "comfort and dignity".

Hundreds of South Africans have been flocking to the hospital, leaving cards, flowers and messages of support for the country's first black president.

US President Barack Obama urged African leaders to follow the anti-apartheid icon's example as a path to international respect and economic growth. Obama didn't visit Mandela over the weekend out of deference to Mandela's family. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spoke by phone with Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, who was at her husband's Pretoria bedside, and offered prayers.

Mandela became the president of Africa's largest economy after his ANC party won the country's first all-race elections in 1994. He previously spent 27 years in jail for opposing white-minority rule and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Additional reporting by Associated Press