A total of R22 million of former president and struggle icon Nelson Mandela’s estate has been distributed to beneficiaries he had listed in his will.
Among the list of 40 beneficiaries were his long-time driver, three members of his staff at his private home, as well as all the high schools and universities he attended while growing up.
At the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, north of Johannesburg on Friday morning, retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and advocate George Bizos said they had acted in accordance with what Mandela had requested.
“We have come to the end of our task, we have done as he asked. The will is insolvent,” Moseneke told reporters, Mandela’s family as well as the recipients who were present.
No fights in the family
He emphasised that the process of identifying and collating all of Mandela’s local and offshore assets and liabilities had been done in a public and transparent manner.
“The accounts have been lying for inspection for the past 21 days. It was a very public process.”
Nine out of the forty recipients were present at the ceremony and received cash cheques from the executors’ attorney Metja Ledwaba. Others, who were not present, had requested to have the monies transferred to them electronically.
Moseneke and Bizos would meet with the family in private later on Friday.
He insisted that despite media reports of infighting within the Mandela family over the struggle icon’s estate, there had been no bad blood.
“Despite all the speculations… there was no fights within the family. The family was united, they gave us support. To me personally, I received nothing but support.”
Most of Mandela’s assets would be transferred to trusts which would look after the family, he said.
‘He treated me very well’
One of the beneficiaries on Friday was Mandela’s long-time driver Michael Maponya.
He said he was happy that the icon had considered him and left something behind for him, but that nothing could compare with the time he had actually spent with him.
“What actually makes me happy is that I worked with Mandela for 22 years. I drove him around from 1990 until he died. He treated me very well and respected me a lot. He also changed my life in a very big way.”
Maponya had been working for entrepreneur and businessman Richard Maponya before working for Madiba.
“When he arrived in Lanseria, along with Maponya, we went to go and fetch him. Then I was asked to work with him for a few months. I worked with him for a month, and he said to me ‘Please, I want to work with you’ and that made me extremely happy.”
Maponya said working with Mandela gave him the opportunity to see the world, which he otherwise may not have.
“I miss him a lot,” he said.
Other beneficiaries present included three members of Mandela’s staff at his private home in Houghton and representatives of Clarkebury Senior Secondary School, Qunu High School and Fort Hare University, which are all in the Eastern Cape, where Mandela was born and grew up.
Orlando West High School and the University of Witwatersrand were also beneficiaries. After moving to Gauteng as a young man and on his path to becoming a lawyer he made Orlando in Soweto his home, where his wife at the time Winnie Madikizela-Mandela would eventually raise their two daughters Zinzi and Zenani.
Mandela’s home in Qunu and all the moveable assets at the property were not part of the bequests.
In anticipation of further legal disputes regarding the property, the executors have decided to deal with the matter once Madikizela-Mandela’s court battle for ownership of the property has been resolved.