Photos: Nelson Mandela’s house decays – Family ditches house after failing to pay bills

Photos: Nelson Mandela’s house decays – Family ditches house after failing to pay bills

Nelson Mandela’s once-elegant Houghton range in Johannesburg — which hosted a number of the world’s leading figures while the previous president was alive — is now an abandoned eyesore. The electric gate is seemingly broken, portions of the roof fascia are missing or collapsing, the court is crumbling and therefore the tiled roof of 1 of the outbuildings is sagging. The once-manicured pavement garden — where well-wishers placed stones painted with messages of hope shortly before Madiba’s death in 2013 — is now overgrown and suffering from rubbish. The house in 12th Avenue was until last year occupied by Mandela’s grandchildren, Ndaba, Mbuso and Andile, who are the sons of the late Makgatho Mandela. Makgatho was Madiba’s son by his first wife, Evelyn. The three brothers lived within the house after Mandela’s death, but Ndaba said they removed after the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (NRM) Family Trust stopped paying the utility bills. The home is owned by Mandela’s company, Iterele Investments.

On his death, Iterele and therefore the house vested in his estate under the control of the executors, who include former deputy judge Dikgang Moseneke. Mandela bequeathed the shares in Iterele, and thus the house, to the trust. However, the estate has yet to effect this transfer. When the Sunday Times team visited the house in the week, a person who opened the gate said it had been being sold. “I have come to assist Mandela’s grandsons … we’ve put furniture in storerooms. From last week people are to ascertain the house.” Ndaba Mandela in the week accused Moseneke and advocate Wim Trengove, a trustee of the NRM Family Trust, of displacing him and his brothers by failing to pay the municipal bills. He alleged they wanted to sell the house. Moseneke and Trengove dismissed the allegations, saying the trust stopped paying the bills after they suddenly quite tripled to about R50,000 a month. Mandela’s will stipulated that he wanted Makgatho and his children to possess use of the house “in perpetuity”. “The trustees shall … pay all assessment rates and other municipal charges and costs in respect of the Houghton property … and maintain the Houghton property in good order and condition.

” Ndaba said the trustees “decided to not buy lights so as to kick us out”, and it had been the trust’s fault that the house was now an eyesore. “Moseneke brought people to the house without telling the family in order that they could do an evaluation. The home is worth between R10m and R15m,” Ndaba said. He said while the bulk of the family had voted to sell the house, “I was one among the few who voted to not.” Ndaba said he had himself contributed to the house’s upkeep. “It belongs within the family. i will be able to fight for it, with everything that I even have.” Mbuso Mandela did not answer questions. sent via WhatsApp, and Andile couldn’t be contacted. Machel and Sello Hatang, CEO of the NMF, referred inquiries to Moseneke, who said he had performed his duties “lawfully, honestly and to the simplest of my ability, properly assisted by two reputable law firms who manage the day-to-day affairs of the deceased estate”. “I have [alerted] the law firms to those manifold bizarre imputations. I even have served as executor at no remuneration. I deny any act of impropriety. i will be able to not answer baseless accusations.” Trengove said there wasn’t a shred of truth to Ndaba’s accusations. He said the estate, under the control of the executors, was the formal owner of the house. Trengove said the trust had no liability to try to to so but had contributed towards the house’s upkeep and municipal bills because the family “implored the trust to assist. [That help] has, since March 2017, come to R1.4m.” He said the trust stopped paying the bills because they “shot up from about R15,000 per month to about R50,000 per month with none explanation”. “We resumed payment, and paid all the arrears, when the bills decreased again to their former level. “We stopped paying because we felt that we couldn’t spend R50,000 per month of the trust’s money, that it had no liability, with none explanation for the inordinately high bills.” He said an “overwhelming” majority of Mandela relations had agreed the house should be sold “if and when” it’s transferred to the trust. Ndaba said the bills had shot up thanks to a leak, which was repaired at his cost. – SundayTimes

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