Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela leaves US$4m estate to family, staff, schools and ANC

Lawyer says reading of anti-apartheid hero's wishes to his relatives was 'charged with emotion' - but no one has yet contested them

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 8:59am

Nelson Mandela left his roughly US$4.1 million estate to his widow, Graca Machel, family members, staff, schools and the ANC, according to a summary of his will released yesterday.

Lawyers said Graca was likely to waive her right to half the estate, opting instead to receive four properties in Mozambique and other assets.

Royalties from his books and other projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Qunu and Mthatha were left to a family trust. The home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where Mandela died on December 5 will be used by the family of his dead son Makgatho.

"It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela and Machel family in order to maintain its unity long after death," the former statesman wrote.

Mandela's children each received US$300,000 in loans during his lifetime and will have that debt scrapped if it has not been repaid. The will was first written in 2004 and last amended in 2008.

"He wanted to make it clear that what he believed in his life, or during his life, was transmitted to the country if not the world at large," said George Bizos, one of the executors who also represented Mandela at the trial in which he avoided the death penalty.

Even before his death, Mandela's children and grandchildren frequently clashed over who leads the family and who should benefit from his investments.

Several have already put the Mandela brand behind commercial projects including wine, clothing, artwork, a social network and a reality TV show.

Executor Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy head of South Africa's Constitutional Court, said the reading of the will to the family had been "charged with emotion" but no one had yet contested it.

Mandela's other bequeathments reflected a life in politics and championing education.

Mandela gave around US$4,500 each to members of staff, including long-time personal aide Zelda la Grange. The will also provides around US$9,000 each for Wits and Fort Hare universities, and the same amount to three other schools.

The African National Congress, which Mandela led to victory in the first democratic elections in 1994, could receive up to 30 per cent of his royalties.

The ANC - which is struggling amid allegations of corruption and incompetence - welcomed the news as a sign of Mandela's "unwavering love for his people and their organisation, the ANC."

It is unclear if the will can prevent family battles over who controls the Mandela name, which have seen family remains exhumed and reinterred and exhumed and reinterred again.

Eldest daughter Makaziwe reportedly had the locks changed on Mandela's rural home after his death to exclude his eldest grandson Mandla, a local chief.

Makaziwe and Mandla both lay claim to lead the family following the death of the anti-apartheid hero in December. The late family head left no instruction in his will about who should take up his mantle. Makaziwe is backed by his second wife Winnie and Mandla has the support for the royal family of his tribe.