Nelson Mandela leaves R46 mill

Nelson Mandela leaves R46 million in his will; Winnie gets nothing

Details of the late South African President’s last will and testament were made public this week after a year-long inheritance battle among his immediate relatives

Nelson Mandela leaves R46 mill

Will readin mandela

THERE weren’t many surprises as the executors to late President Nelson Mandela’s will publicised details of the former leader’s assets and where they are intended to go.

The executors of Madiba’s estate revealed the contents of this final will and testament and the management of his estate to his family at the the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s offices in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Nearly the entire Mandela family, made up of scores of children and grandchildren, not to mention his widow Graça Machel and ex-wife Winnie Mandela, were present at Monday’s event, alongside many international news organisations. Despite guaranteeing full transparency, it was outlined that this public reading would merely be an ‘executive summary’ of the contents of the will and not a full disclosure of all details, intended to prevent the will from further scrutiny.

Chief executor to the will and deputy head of the Constitutional Court Dikgang Moseneke, who met Madiba on Robben Island in 1963 where they were both imprisoned,  revealed that the provisional balance of Madiba’s assets and accounts was estimated at R46 million. Many of his bequests went directly to family members, though nine staff members were also considered. Mandela left R50,000 each to former PA Zelda le Grange and his personal chef Xoliswa Ndoyiya.

The will also featured various schools that Mandela had either attended or associated with in his lifetime, as some of his beneficiaries – as well as the ANC itself.

The six education facilities mentioned in the will each receive R100,000, including Qunu Junior Secondary School, Orlando West High School in Soweto, Wits University and the University of Fort Hare, while R1.5 million will go to his family foundation, the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust.

A minimum of 10% and maximum of 30% of the royalties of the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust and its investments will go to the African National Congress. According to the will, the ANC should  use the royalties at the discretion of the ANC executive to spread principles and policies of the party dating back to its formation.

His real estate assets were also bequeathed to the Nelson Mandela Rolihlahla Family Trust, including his ancestral home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, where he was buried on 15 December last year, and his family home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where he passed away on 5 December 2013, aged 95.

His will read, “it is my wish that [my home] also serves as a gathering place for the Mandela family to maintain its unity long after my death.” Despite the future uses of the family properties being unclear, Mandela also bequeathed another R1,5 million to the family trust to ensure its proper management.

On top of making provisions for his own family and children, Nelson Mandela also made sure that the children and grandchildren of his surviving third wife, Graça Machel, whom he married when he was 80 years old, were also taken into consideration. It was further revealed that the couple had married in community of property, making Machel the direct administrator of the will. Moseneke said she has 90 days to indicate if she elects to inherit according to the will or 50% of the estate as per the marriage terms.

However, his ex-wife and struggle activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was not left any money in the late statesman’s will, which attracted a certain amount of controversy in social media.

Ongoing disputes between Mandela’s family members, chiefly between his eldest daughter from his first marriage, Makaziwe, and his eldest grandson, Mandla, who under Xhosa patriarchy rules would be first in line to certain inheritance rights, were largely ignored in the public reading of the will. However, it was stipulated that Makaziwe would receive more than USD 300,000 directly while another USD 300,000 would go into the family trust intended to benefit all his grandchildren from his first marriage. Each of his grandchildren also received generous amounts as bequeathed in the will, although the amounts involved varied greatly between R100,000 and USD 300,000. Mandela further offset any debts previously incurred by his grandchildren.

The will dates back to 2004, with final amendments having been added in 2005 and in 2008, explained Moseneke. The 11 pages of the will were shortened into a summary provided to the press and the public during the reading.

Now that the details of Madiba’s testament are public, it might easier to discuss the state of his legacy, especially considering that the R46 million estate of the most internationally revered President of South Africa compares as merely a fifth of the value of President Jacob Zuma’s controversial homestead in Nkandla, KZN.

By Sertan Sanderson, 2014