Senior AbaThembu royal family member Daludumo Mtirara has retracted comments made about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela following threats of a R10-million lawsuit by her lawyers.
However, it seems he might not be off the hook as lawyers have dismissed the apology, saying it was far from what they were expecting from him.
In a statement sent to several media outlets in the country, including the Saturday Dispatch earlier this week, the under-fire Mtirara said the royal family respected elders and that Madikizela-Mandela was regarded as an elderly person who should be a beneficiary of such respect.
The Dispatch had previously reported that her lawyer, Mvuzo Notyesi, had written a letter to Mtirara on Monday.
In it he demanded that Mtirara publicly apologise to his client after he was reported in several media publications and on television calling Madikizela-Mandela “greedy and opportunistic”.
His comments come after it was reported that she had launched a court bid for former president Nelson Mandela’s Qunu home.
It has also been widely reported that she recently made claims in her court application that the marriage certificate submitted to the court for the divorce proceedings from Mandela had been forged.
Mtirara, who represents a grouping known as the Royal Family for the Kingdom of AbaThembu, was given until Thursday to respond or face a R10-million defamation lawsuit.
But in his statement, Mtirara accused the media of misinterpreting his comments.
“Expressing words such as opportunistic and greedy on her should not be associated with Daludumo,” he said.
“It is merely how the reporters interpreted our statement which explained why the royal family dismisses her claims on the Qunu.”
He said after consultation with its own lawyers, the royal family had decided to retract “such” words.
“Our position is very clear: it does not have any intention of integrating insulting words as reported in the media. I therefore retract those words and apologise to Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,” he said.
While AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo supports Madikizela-Mandela’s application, Mtirara said the group’s stance remained the same. “The property belong to the children and generations of the late Mrs Eveline Mamqwathi Mandela, Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Mrs Nosizwe Graça Machel. None of Nkosi Dalibhunga’s wives can claim ownership over the site.”
Notyesi said yesterday the apology was vague and they would go ahead with the lawsuit. — firstname.lastname@example.org