The customary marriage involving former President Nelson Mandela ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela became the centre of Madikizela-Mandela’s Counsel’s submissions in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

She is appealing the 2016 Mthatha High Court ruling which dismissed her application to acquire Mandela’s home in Qunu.

Madikizela-Mandela’s counsel Kameshni Pillay argued that the disposal of the Mandela’s house in Qunu happened while the two were still married.

Pillay fought tooth and nail in court insisting in her heads of argument that customary laws should be respected.

She said Madikizela-Mandela was not consulted during the process of donating the house to Mandela by the then minister of Land Affairs.

The house in question is part of Madiba’s will which states that the property should be administered by the Family Trust.

Pillay told the court that Madikizela-Mandela was prejudiced from the ownership of the house.

“She was the wife of Nelson Mandela at that time and the fact that things were done by benefactors on his behalf does mean that things were done on her benefit because they were married at the time.”

“Our central submission is that, as long she had open access to Qunu, there was no reason for her to suspect that some disposal has happened that she did not know about.”

She says had Madikizela-Mandela known about the disposal she would have challenged the decisions, but instead she was kept in the dark.

“We must take into account my client’s testimony that if she had known earlier about the disposal she would have challenged it.”

Senior State Counsel, Vincent Maleka, argued that there was no resolution to be adopted in order for the minister to exercise his discretion.

Outside court, a few ANC Women’s League members told the SABC that Madikizela-Mandela should be given the ownership of the house as she was married to Mandela.

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