News and Information

Lawyer denies Mandela money claim
April 18, 2005

Mandela artwork
The row is about the revenue from Nelson Mandela's pictures
Nelson Mandela's former legal representative, Ismail Ayob, has denied claims he failed to account for charity funds raised in Mr Mandela's name.

Last week, Advocate George Bizos said he was taking legal action on Mr Mandela's behalf against Mr Ayob.

A statement issued on behalf of Mr Ayob said the allegations made last week were "vague and unspecific".

It added Mr Mandela had already assigned rights to the use of his name.

Last week, Mr Bizos said he intended going to court to obtain accounts from Mr Ayob and his business partner for "millions of rands" raised from the sale of artworks bearing the former president's signature.


Mr Ayob's statement, issued by attorney Owen Dean, portrays the dispute as being between the Nelson Mandela Foundation - which organises charitable projects on behalf of Mr Mandela - and the Mandela Trust, a private trust fund administered by Mr Mandela's children, with Mr Ayob as legal representative.

Nelson Mandela
Mr Mandela's children administer the trust

But a statement issued last week by the Nelson Mandela Foundation denies the foundation's involvement in the dispute, saying that legal action was being taken in Mr Mandela's private capacity.

According to Mr Ayob's statement, the trustees of the Mandela Trust were satisfied with Mr Ayob's services to the trust.

"It would appear as though the allegations made against Mr Ayob emanate from the Nelson Mandela Foundation which is mandated to administer funds contributed to public causes on behalf of Mr Mandela," the statement said.

"At the root of the matter there appears to be dissension as to whether the Mandela Trust or the Nelson Mandela Foundation has the right to control the intellectual property pertaining to the person of Nelson Mandela.

"Mr Ayob and the Trustees of the Mandela Trust have sound grounds to believe that the Trust effectively holds such rights. Mr Mandela, himself, having assigned his rights in the intellectual property in question, is not a party to the dispute."

Last week, Mr Bizos specifically denied that there was any dispute between Mr Mandela and his children.

On Friday, South African newspapers The Star and The Mail & Guardian both quoted an unnamed buyer as saying he had purchased an artwork that had been put on sale in the name of the Mandela Foundation, and which was later revealed to be a fake.


    Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.

First Name
Last Name