Nelson Mandela’s family and the South African Broadcasting Corporation told Sunday World newspaper yesterday to issue a public apology or face prosecution in a court of law. This is because the paper had reported that Mandela’s grandson sold the exclusive rights to Mandela’s funeral to the SABC and pocketed R3-million, about $442,000 in 2009. He was also accused of hiding details of the transaction from his family.
Chief Mandla Mandela, the grandson, denied all allegations that he sold his grandfather’s funeral broadcasting rights to any station. Although the issue was addressed in 2009 when the story was published, it came up again yesterday when the grandson met with SABC.
“I have never pocketed any money or sat at any meeting where this matter was discussed, and traditionally you don’t discuss anyone’s funeral when that person is still alive,” he said. “As a family we will look at other available options, including approaching the court, if the newspaper fails to apologize publicly,” he added.
The SABC also proved the allegations wrong saying, “We recently went to see the Mandela family in Qunu and agreed that we should embark on this process. You can buy soccer broadcasting rights but not someone’s funeral broadcasting rights and, if we did such a thing, it was going to be a huge indictment on our part.”
They added that they regret the attitude of some sections of the media, which continued to make reference to the above allegations as fact, even after they have clarified this matter in a statement issued on June 4, 2009.
The SABC and Chief Mandela has decided to revisit the matter in order to lay it to rest once and for all.
“We both agree that it is important that our relationship should not be guided by this unfortunate story. We urge media practitioners to consider the consequences of spreading false information about individuals or organizations as this always have unpleasant results.”