Nelson Mandela's grandson in trouble over unpaid legal fees

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - Lawyers for apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's eldest grandson said they have gone to court over unpaid legal fees after a well-publicised court feud with relatives while the peace icon lay in hospital.

Mr Mandla Mandela owes Randall Titus & Associates "approximately half a million rand (S$60,500)", company director Randall Titus told AFP on Thursday.

"We've obtained a judgement against Mr Mandela," he said, adding that the sheriff would seize Mr Mandla Mandela's assets.

The company represented Mr Mandla in several cases, most famously in July, when he lost a court battle with 16 family members while the Nobel peace laureate was critically ill in hospital.

Mr Mandla was brought to court for unilaterally exhuming the remains of Mr Mandela's three dead children from the family graveyard in Qunu in 2011 and reburying them in Mvezo, where he is a traditional chief.

The two villages are some 30km apart in the Eastern Cape province.

The remains were those of Mr Mandla's own father Magkatho, who died in 2005; Mr Mandela's eldest son Thembekile, who died in 1969; and Makaziwe, a nine-month-old infant who died in 1948.

After losing the case, Mr Mandla lashed out in a televised media conference, branding his relatives gold-diggers and even accusing one of his brothers of impregnating his wife.

Local media later reported the other family members received free legal aid, though some are company directors.

The older Mandela, 95, has been receiving treatment at his Johannesburg home since Sept 1 after nearly three months in hospital in what was described as a critical but stable condition.