MASERU – The owner of the Toyota Cressida that is believed to have transported former South Africa President Nelson Mandela from prison 30 years ago has passed on due to Covid-19 complications.
Mr Leabua Matela Thaabe is said to have passed away last week Friday after he was released from Medi-clinic in Bloemfontein.
Mr Thaabe dies at a time when him and his friend Mr Rafael Lenea were busy trying to sell the iconic car to the best bidder.
As it is, it hadn’t as yet been verified whether the car was indeed the Cressida that Mandela and his wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had travelled to the Cape Town City Hall in.
If this car was indeed verified at any stage, it would have helped solve the mystery surrounding the ‘Madiba Cressida’ which vanished into thin air.
The vehicle which was sourced from the Protea Toyota dealership in Bellville, Cape Town, was later returned to the same dealership and has since dissapeared without a trace.
Mr Thaabe said the grey automatic Cressida was “the best sedan ever” and it had never given him any mechanical problems.
He said he had spotted it at some drive-in while he was on some business trip in Durban in 2009 bearing a sign Board written ‘Mandela’s Cressida’.
Being a lover of sedans, Mr Thaabe had said he never took the story that it could be Mandela’s car to head, “I just fell in love with it because it was still in a very good condition.”
Mr Thaabe’s brother, Remaketse said his brother’s passing had left a huge void in the family and had left them shaken.
He shall be laid to rest in Butha-Buthe over the weekend.