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Mandela's grandson loses court fight over burial of icon's children

By Tony Wende, CNN
updated 9:08 AM EDT, Wed July 3, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The court says Mandela's grandson must return family remains to Qunu
  • Mandla Mandela says he'll abide by the ruling
  • Nelson Mandela is ailing at a Pretoria hospital

Mthatha, South Africa (CNN) -- Nelson Mandela's grandson lost a court battle Wednesday against other members of his family over where three of the former South African leader's deceased children should be buried.

A judge in Mthatha, South Africa, dismissed an application by Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, which means the grandson must return the remains of the three Mandela relatives to their graves in Qunu.

The grandson, also known as Mandla, is accused of exhuming and relocating the bodies in 2011 to Mvezo, Nelson Mandela's birthplace. He issued a statement saying he'll abide by the court decision but continue "to fight for his right to put on record his side of the story."

A statement issued on Mandla's behalf said he is "disappointed that to date he has not been granted an opportunity to respond to the court order granted against him by the Mthatha High Court. He has maintained that the papers were not properly served on him and therefore he has as a result been denied the right to respond to the contents of the court application against him."

The court battle played out as Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition at a Pretoria hospital.

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