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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

Mandela family declines government’s offer to renovate late statesman’s Joburg mansion

The family has reacted to concerns over public money being used to renovate Madiba's private house.

The family of Nelson Mandela has declined an offer from the Gauteng government to use public funds to renovate the former statesman’s Johannesburg home.

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This comes after concerns from the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation (JHF) that the use of public funds for the renovation of the Houghton private home could create a bad precedence.

Private donors preferred for Mandela house renovations

The JHF spokesperson, David Fleminger, told The Citizen that he and other members of JHF were invited to a meeting by an organisation which served as a middle man between the JHF and the Mandela family on Monday.

Renovations to the Mandela house were discussed at the meeting and it emerged that the Mandela family would rather use private donors to renovate the house.

“We are encouraged by the latest development and we hope that it all works out for the betterment of the Mandela legacy and the ordinary South Africans,” he said.

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According to Fleminger, the JHF was also informed that the Mandela family had resolved ownership issues over the house. There had been a dispute among family members concerning who had rights to the house.

“This is what we have been told. The family was not at the meeting,” Fleminger said.

Will Mandela house become a museum?

It was not clear what would become of the Mandela house after it is renovated. Fleminger said the JHF had been informed that the public would have access to it.

“There are indications it might not be a private house after it is renovated,” he said.

It was not clear which faction of the fragmented Mandela family were responsible for these negotiations.

The Mandela house in Houghton has been abandoned for a number of years and residents in the affluent area have complained about the condition of the house lowering the value of their houses.

The house also owes utilities such as water and electricity and some portions of it seem to be falling apart.

Despite this, the house was quite popular with tourists and those who still have reverence for the former statesman.

The JHF had said the Mandela house in Houghton has historic value, market value and business value, and that the public should benefit if it is renovated with public funds.

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