Mandela’s €3.05m estate divided among family, staff and colleges

Graca Machel, wife for former South African president, likely to waive rights to half of estate

Deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke (centre)  is flanked by Professor Njabulo Ndebele (left) and George Bizos, Mr Mandela’s lawyer, confidant and friend, at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton, on Monday. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke (centre) is flanked by Professor Njabulo Ndebele (left) and George Bizos, Mr Mandela’s lawyer, confidant and friend, at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton, on Monday. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Tue, Feb 4, 2014, 01:00


Nelson Mandela left an estate worth 46 million rand (€3.05 million) to a range of beneficiaries, including his wife, family members, staff and educational institutions, the executors of his will have revealed.

At the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, lawyers said a portion of the estate would be split between three trusts set up by the anti-apartheid leader, who died on December 5th aged 95.

They include a family trust established to look after his family of more than 30 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which will receive 1.5 million rand (€100,000).

Royalties from his best-selling books and other commercial projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Qunu and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province, were also left to the family trust.

The home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where Mr Mandela died, is to be used by the family of his late son Makgatho, who died of an Aids-related illness in 2005.

“It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after my death,” the former South African president wrote.

There has been major public concern that the frequent clashes between Mr Mandela’s family members over who will lead the clan and benefit from his investments would evolve into a dispute over the will.

However, the executor of document, the deputy head of South Africa’s Constitutional Court Dikgang Moseneke, said that although the reading of the will to family members had been “charged with emotion”, it “went well” and no one had indicated they would contest it.

Mr Moseneke said that Mr Mandela’s third wife, Graca Machel, who is entitled to half his estate, was likely to waive her rights in the matter. She had 90 days to decide whether to do so, he added.

Mr Mandela’s will was written in 2004 and was last amended in 2008. Other beneficiaries include the African National Congress party, members of his personal staff and a number of education institutes.

Mr Mandela gave 50,000 rand (€3,300) each to members of staff, including his long- time personal assistant Zelda la Grange.

Wits and Fort Hare universities were given about a million rand (€66,000) each for bursaries and scholarships, and the same amount to three other schools in the Eastern Cape.

The African National Congress, which Mr Mandela led to victory in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, could receive between 10 and 30 per cent of his royalties, although the money can be used only for limited purposes. According to the will, the funds should be used specifically to promote “policies and principles of reconciliation amongst the people of South Africa”.

Three executors will now have the task of winding up Mr Mandela’s estate and carrying out his wishes. They are George Bizos, who represented Mr Mandela at the trial that resulted in his being jailed for 27 years; Mr Moseneke, who spent many years imprisoned on Robben Island with him; and Themba Sangoni, the head judge in his birth province, the Eastern Cape.