Court orders relocation of disputed Mandela family remains

MTHATHA (AFP) - A South African court on Tuesday ordered the return of the remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children to his ancestral village, following a bitter family feud linked to the eventual burial site of the ailing anti-apartheid hero.

A judge in the southern city of Mthatha instructed Mandela's eldest grandson Mandla to transfer the remains to Qunu by 3pm local time on Wednesday.

Mandla allegedly had the graves moved to Mvezo, about 30km away, without the rest of the family's consent in 2011.

Mandela, who remains critically ill in what is now his fourth week in hospital, had expressed his wish to be buried in Qunu, and his daughters want to have the children's remains transferred so they can be together.

Previously the grandson has argued that Mandela should be buried at his birthplace Mvezo, where Mandla holds court as clan chief.

The court order was issued in response to a request by 16 relatives of the revered leader.

"I now rule that the respondent complies with the order to return the remains by 3pm on Wednesday," said Judge Lusindiso Pakade.

The remains belonged to Mandela's eldest son Thembekile who died in 1969, his nine-month-old infant Makaziwe who passed away in 1948, and Mandla's own father Magkatho who died in 2005.