Nelson Mandela’s grandson has appeared in court charged with raping a 15-year-old girl at a bar, in the latest scandal to hit the family of the anti-apartheid leader.
Mbuso Mandela, 24, was “calm and composed” during a brief appearance on Monday, South Africa’s Star newspaper reported. He remains in police custody and will return to the Johannesburg magistrates court on Friday for a bail hearing. On Tuesday police insisted he would not be treated differently from any other suspect.
Media reports suggest that the girl was followed to a toilet where she was allegedly raped in a cubicle. Mbuso was arrested last weekend after the alleged victim, who is receiving counselling, opened a case against him.
Selepe said she was unaware of media reports that a bodyguard for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of the late president, tried to interfere in the situation. “That was never brought to our attention nor reported,” she said.
Selepe insisted that Mbuso Mandela would be treated like any other citizen despite his family name, adding: “All the rights of suspects are upheld during their investigation and lawful custody.”
South Africa’s Times newspaper reported that staff at an African-themed bar and restaurant in the Greenside area of Johannesburg said they were unaware of any incident on the night in question.
Yaw Dwomoh, the owner of Mammas Shebeen, told the paper that police had not yet approached him. “We would cooperate, we have eight cameras in the restaurant, but the problem is that they only hold 120 hours, so by now they have been erased,” he was quoted as saying.
Mandela died in December 2013 at the age of 95, leaving behind a dynasty – including 17 grandchildren – that has had more than its share of emotional scars, infighting and controversy.
Mandla Mandela, the eldest of the grandsons, was convicted earlier this year of assaulting a 40-year-old motorist during a road-rage incident. In 2013 Mandla lost a court battle against other family members over the final resting place of his grandfather’s three children, which saw their bones dug up and reburied.
Zoleka Mandela, a granddaughter, has told how she suffered sexual abuse as a child, became addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex, tried to kill herself, lost a daughter and son, and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In 2013 two of Mandela’s daughters went to court to dispute control of the millions contained in one of his family trusts, but eventually dropped the action.
Mbuso is descended from the first of Mandela’s three wives, Evelyn Mase, andreceived $300,000 (£200,000) in his grandfather’s will.