Heritage agency tries to stop sale of items that belonged to Nelson Mandela
SA Heritage Resources Agency says it will appeal against a court judgement allowing Makaziwe Mandela and former prison warder David Parr to auction the belongings
The SA Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) says it will continue its fight to stop the sale of liberation icon and former president Nelson Mandela’s belongings by his daughter, Makaziwe Mandela.
Sahra says it will appeal against a High Court judgement that allowed Makaziwe Mandela and Mandela’s former prison warder, David Parr, to auction the belongings.
The auction, to be conducted by international auction company Guernsey’s, is set to take place online. Despite Pretoria high court acting judge Vuyani Ngalwana having labelled the agency’s case as a “hail Mary exercise” [meaning it has a small chance of success] in the judgment that favoured Makaziwe Mandela‚ the agency — supported by sport, arts and culture minister Zizi Kodwa — filed for an appeal three weeks ago.
The auction, set for February 22 could go ahead‚ as the court has not yet granted the appeal‚ according to the agency.
“The application is pending before the High Court. Sahra‚ the department and the Robben Island Museum are urgently assessing the lawfulness and implications of the impending auction and considering all available remedies‚” the agency stated when reacting to the announcement about the auction.
Kodwa has shown support for the appeal‚ saying it was key in “maintaining the country’s rich heritage”.
“Former president Nelson Mandela is integral to SA’s heritage. His life‚ experiences and legacy live in our consciousness and in the values we promote as a country. It is thus important that we preserve the legacy of former president Mandela and ensure his life’s work and experiences remain in the country for generations to come‚” he said.
Makaziwe Mandela and Parr won a two-year legal battle against Sahra‚ which attempted to stop the sale.
The agency argued that 29 items belonging to Mandela were heritage objects and asked the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to order Makaziwe to return them to SA. In December, the court dismissed Sahra’s application for an interdict‚ saying there was little evidence to support the allegation the items were heritage objects.
Items to be sold in the auction include Mandela’s identity document issued in 1993‚ letters from prison‚ his walking stick‚ drawings he sketched while in jail‚ a gift from former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, and other gifts he received.
According to Guernsey’s‚ the money from the auction would be used to build a memorial garden at Mandela’s grave site in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
Guernsey’s said: “For those who lived through Nelson Mandela’s remarkable struggle for freedom‚ and for future generations‚ the garden will serve as an inspirational reminder of a man whose life impacted us all.”
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