Rift Over Mandela Companies Deepens

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Norton Rose, a Johannesburg law firm representing Bizos in the dispute with Mandela’s daughters, said Bizos’ position will be outlined in papers likely to be filed in court in mid-May.

In an interview last week with South Africa’s Talk Radio 702, Norton Rose director Michael Hart said Nelson Mandela gave “explicit instructions” for Bizos and two associates, lawyer Bally Chuene and Tokyo Sexwale, a businessman and politician, to oversee the disputed companies. They have done so “without any charge or remuneration,” he said.

In the letter, Tukwini Mandela said her mother is a “highly educated and accomplished businesswoman in her own right,” and that Bizos’ reported comments showed a lack of respect for Nelson Mandela and his advocacy on behalf of women.

“I doubt you would ever refer to the women in your life as ‘this woman,’” Tukwini Mandela wrote.

“You and your peddlers of falsehood have spent the whole of last week casting aspersions on my family, spreading blatant lies and innuendo, hoping that a trial through the media will deter us from defending our name and legacy,” she wrote.

Tukwini Mandela is the marketing director of House of Mandela, a winemaking company. Two other granddaughters of Mandela are starring in a U.S. television reality show titled “Being Mandela.”

Bizos, who was born in Greece, defended Mandela during the Rivonia trial in 1960s that led to the African National Congress leader’s conviction on sabotage charges and a sentence of life imprisonment.

Bizos works at the Legal Resources Center, a human rights group in South Africa. He has recently cross-examined the national police commissioner and other witnesses before a panel investigating the shooting deaths of 34 striking miners by police last year.

(Photo: AP)

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