Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Mandela-Dlamini have filed papers to remove George Bizos from the board of two of Mandela-related investment funds. This move by Mandela’s daughters hints at an ugly power struggle for the former South African President’s wealth.
George Bizos is a renowned human rights lawyer who defended Mandela against his possible death penalty in 1964, and was a contributor in Mandela’s statement from the dock, “I am prepared to die.”
The papers were filed two days after Mandela ws released from his recent stay in hospital for pneumonia. Makaziwe, founder of House of Mandela wine label and Zenani, South African ambassador to Argentina are seeking to have the court oust Bizos, cabinet minister Tokyo Sexwale and Bally Chuene, Mandela’s ex-lawyer.
Mandela’s daughters are alleging that the three men forced themselves on the board of two companies, worth around R15 million. They also claim that the three were never appointed as directors or shareholders of Harmonieux Investment Holdings and Magnifique Investment Holdings.
The daughters said:
In our capacity as directors, or in any other capacity, have [n]ever received any notice to pass a resolution appointing, or have ever appointed.
The two holdings were set up to channels funds of sales from Mandela’s Handprint art series for his benefit and those of his children. The illustrious hand print was created accidentally while Mandela was working on a sketch inspired by his imprisonment on Robben Island. The handprint conatins an image that resembles the African continent.
According to Makaziwe’s affidavit, Bizos was” quite happy to participate in this unlawful conduct, as is evident from his acceptance of the sham directorship.”
Bizos, who is currently representing victims of the Marikana mine massacre said:
There is no basis to the allegations. We are not hijackers. We don’t hijack things. The public should ask themselves why five years later these allegations are being laid. We are confident we were regularly appointed at the wish of Mr Mandela five years ago.
He also claims that Makaziwe and Zenzani are only bringing the court application “in order to further their investments and get their hands on the money.”
Michael Hart, lawyer with Norton Rose South Africa said:
Our clients were identified by Mr Mandela and were in due course lawfully appointed as directors of the companies referred to in the application. We are instructed to record our clients’ complete rejection of the scurrilous allegations made by the applicants in their papers. These will be refuted in the answering affidavits filed in support of their opposition to the application.
Our clients record their dismay at the insensitivity of the applicants in publicly releasing the unanswered court documents, particularly at this time. They will deal fully with the matter in their papers to be filed in terms of the rules of court.
But Sexwale maintains that the three people in question were appointed trustees by Mandela.
I still do not know what the quarrel is about. As a colleague and a comrade of Nelson Mandela, if he appoints you, you do the job.
The court application has reportedly divided the Mandela family.
[Source: The Guardian]
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