Speak to the driver: He might be the dad - Ndaba Mandela
THE Mandela Royal Family scandal over the paternity of a child - who until last week was known to be the biological son of Chief Mandla Mandela - took a new twist as the family's chauffeur was dragged into the fray.
Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former President Nelson Mandela and an ANC MP, caused a stir this week as he denied paternity of Qheya Zanethemba Mandela.
He had dropped a bombshell in a press statement in which he accused one of his younger brothers, Ndaba, of being the child's father.
The child was born to Mandla's second wife - French beauty Anais Grimaud - on September 1 last year.
However, Ndaba told Sunday World that questions about the love affair should be directed to Mandla's driver, Monde Monwa.
Ndaba says he believes Monwa (a Swaziland national) has "a lot to answer to".
"Mandla used to leave Anais for weeks all by herself, so she spent a lot of time with Monde, the driver who drives her everywhere. That's why he is also a suspect," said Ndaba.
Sources close to the situation say the scandal has caused a huge fallout in the family and an urgent meeting to discuss the matter was scheduled to take place yesterday afternoon.
Sunday World was told that Monwa was also summoned to the meeting, which was due to take place at (Mandla's) Mvezo Royal Palace in the Eastern Cape.
Speaking to Sunday World, Monwa denies having had an affair with Grimaud.
"I'm only the chief's driver and don't know what you're talking about now," he says.
Monwa says he drove Grimaud "wherever she wanted to go both at night and during the day".
"Because I know where she went and who she met does not mean I should be involved in this affair business (sic). I don't want to be involved."
He also denies he was summoned to the meeting by the Mandelas.
However, a source close to the situation says Monwa was due to drive Mandla to Mvezo Royal Palace.
Grimaud has been sent back to her family in Reunion Island.
Ndaba yesterday furiously dismissed Mandla's claims that he is responsible for fathering the child.
Ndaba, who throughout this week refused to comment on the matter, broke his silence as he told us that he can offer leads to what he called the "prime affair suspect".
"At first I was shocked to read in the media that I was suspected of fathering a child, something I would not do. For Mandla to speak out of turn about me or our brother Mbuso to the media, without even asking us is disturbing," he said.
"Mandla used to leave Anais for weeks all by herself. She therefore spent a lot of time with Monde ... that's why he is also a suspect," said Ndaba.
Ndaba had earlier launched a scathing attack on Mandla, accusing him of being "mischievous".
He also said he was irritated by the manner in which his brother dealt with the matter.
"To make matters worse, he then runs to China and we are left harassed by the media.
"He must explain himself. I did not father that child, the truth will be revealed."
He said he at all times regarded Anais as his sister.
Mandla Mandela's family spokesperson in Mvezo, Sidima Mnqangeni: "We have been unable to offer any comment. We are waiting for Mandla to give clarity on the matter," said Mnqangeni.
Mnqangeni did not dismiss the fresh allegations concerning Mandla's driver.
"Look, it may be so, but I cannot say. It is true that he spent a lot of time with her both here in Mvezo and Joburg. But let's wait to hear from the chief himself. Because now it's all rumours," he said.
A close relative and an elder in the Mandela family in Qunu, Silumko Mandela says the scandal is damaging to the family.
"I am holding my teeth, praying that this does not divide the family."
Allegations suggesting Mandla might not be the child's father appeared to be strengthened by his estranged first wife, Tando Mabunu- Mandela, who told the Mthatha High Court that Mandla is infertile.