Mandela grandson's wife blocks third marriage: report

22nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The wife of Nelson Mandela's grandson has challenged his Christmas Eve wedding to a third wife in court, claiming the law does not allow the chief to practise polygamy, local media reported Thursday.

Tando Mabunu-Mandela says her civil law union with Mandla Mandela blocks his marriage to customary wives, according to The Times newspaper.

Mandla is a grandson to former South African president Nelson Mandela and also a member of parliament. He heads the family clan in the rural Eastern Cape province.

"While it is correct that, in African tribal law, a husband may take more than one tribal wife, this is of no assistance to (Mandela) because he has married me in terms of civil rights," the paper quotes Mabunu-Mandela as saying.

South African law allows a person to be married either to one spouse under civil law or several spouses under customary law. He cannot have wives under the different laws at the same time.

Mabunu-Mandela had her husband's 2010 marriage to a woman from Reunion Island declared illegal in May this year on the same grounds.

A sheriff this week seized assets worth 100,000 rands ($12,000, 9,000 euros) from Mandla after he failed to pay maintenance to his wife pending their divorce that has been pending since 2009.

The 37-year-old chief has made the news for all the wrong reasons over the last few years. Members of his village accused him of expropriating land to build a luxury hotel and sports stadium this year. A court had to order him to release journalists he held hostage when they investigated the allegations.

Two years ago a report alleged he had sold the broadcasting rights to Nelson Mandela's funeral to the South African public broadcaster. He denied the report at the time.

Nelson Mandela was elected the country's first black president in South Africa's first all-race vote in 1994 and served one term before stepping down in 1999.

The anti-apartheid icon returned to his rural home in June after being discharged from hospital in January for an acute respiratory infection.

© 2011 AFP

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