AS NELSON Mandela spends another day critically ill in hospital a court has ordered the remains of his three deceased children be moved back to the family graveyard at his ancestral home.
Members of his family, including two of his daughters, took court action against his grandson, Mandla, in a bid to have the remains returned.
The Mtatha High Court in the Eastern Cape has reportedly granted the application today after Mandla did not attend court and his lawyers said he did not oppose the move.
The remains of the three deceased children were dug up and moved from the gravesite at Qunu, near Mandela’s home in 2011 by Mandla and taken to nearby Mvezo, Mandela’s birthplace.
The controversial move was allegedly done without the approval of the rest of the family.
The court action comes after a reportedly heated meeting of family members and clan elders earlier this week in Qunu about where the children will finally rest.
The bodies of Nelson Mandela’s deceased children will be moved to his hometown where he as well plans to be buried.
It is believed that Mandela wishes to be buried at Qunu, where he grew up,with his children.
It comes as US President Barack Obama said he would defer to Mandela’s family about whether to visit the ailing anti-apartheid icon while in Pretoria.
“I do not need a photo op. The last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive,” Mr Obama said aboard Air Force One.
“I think that the message we’ll want to deliver is not directly to him but to his family, is simply profound gratitude for his leadership all these years,” he added.
His ex wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who has visited him regularly in hospital, called on the media not to “get carried away” in their reporting on her former husband’s illness, but thanks them for their support.
“Please understand the sensitivities and the feeling of the family,” added the MP, who tirelessly campaigned for Mandela’s release during his 27-year imprisonment under apartheid.
“We had no idea of the love out there for us in our particular situation and if sometimes we sound bitter it is because we are dealing with a very difficult situation,” she added.
It is the ailing anti-apartheid leader’s 21st day in hospital. A week ago his condition slipped from serious to critical and he was reported to be on life support.
As the nation feared the worst he then rallied and on Thursday President Jacob Zuma announced, after visiting the hospital, that he was doing better and was now critical but stable.
Outside the hospital well wishers continue to come with flowers, balloons and cards. Choirs have been signing, there have been prayers and as the news filtered out that the man South Africans adore for leading them from apartheid was slightly better the mood was lifted.
Many began expressing hope he would pull through his latest health battle. They sang rousing revolutionary songs and prayed for his recovery.
US President Barack Obama landed in South Africa on Friday on an official visit and on the weekend will visit Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.
Released from jail in 1990 Mandela was elected President in 1994 and oversaw the transition from apartheid and white minority rule.
He turns 95 on July 18.