London, July 8 IANS | 2 years ago

Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla has said he will resist moves to expel him as chief of the anti-apartheid icon's clan, even as the former president is critically ill and in hospital for more than three weeks.

King Buleyekhaya Dalindyebo, the traditional ruler of the Thembu people, of which Mandela's clan is a part, has said he planned to "eject" Mandla as a traditional chief, BBC reported.

Last week, Mandla lost a court case brought by rival family members over the burial site of the 94-year-old former president, and three of his children.

The family has been involved in a long-running battle for control of Mandela's legacy.

Mandla, 39, is the chief of the traditional council in Mvezo, where his grandfather was born.

He was appointed to the post in 2007 with the backing of Mandela, who saw him as his traditional heir.

King Dalindyebo Saturday told a crowd at his Bumbane Great Place that Mandla had no right to be a chief.

The king accused Mandla of behaving like a "witch" by moving the graves of three of Mandela's children from Qunu to Mvezo without consulting his relatives.

Mandla dismissed the king as "unstable" and prone to making "delusional announcements", BBC said.

"It takes a long customary process to appoint a chief and it takes a long customary process to remove a chief," his spokesman said.

The three children were reburied in the Mandela family graveyard in Qunu, after their remains were exhumed from Mvezo.

Fifteen members of Mandela's family - including his eldest daughter Makaziwe and wife Graca Machel - obtained a court order for the reburials, alleging that Mandla had unlawfully moved the bodies to Mvezo in 2011 to ensure that his grandfather would be buried there, against his wishes.

They say Mandela wants to buried next to his children in Qunu, where he spent most of his time after stepping down as president in 1999.

(Posted on 08-07-2013)