The auction, which was scheduled for 22 February, was to include the sale of the late statesman’s ID book and several other personal items.
Auction house Guernsey’s, on its website, and without listing a reason, said: “This auction has been suspended.”
The auction received widespread criticism and was at the heart of litigation between the South African Heritage Resource Agency (Sahra) and Madiba’s oldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela.
In a statement, Sahra said it had asked Guernsey’s to suspend the auction until all court cases in this regard had been concluded.
Guernsey’s had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. Their response will be added once received.
Sahra had previously sought an interdict to prevent Makaziwe Mandela from selling the former president’s personal belongings. The application was dismissed in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Source previously reported that Sahra spokesperson Yazeed Sadien said some of the items on auction were still “the subject of the ongoing legal proceedings” and that the agency would continue to challenge the auction.
A date for the continuing legal proceedings has yet to be set.
Guernsey’s director, Susan Jaffe, previously declined to comment to News24, saying that to do so would be “premature”.
Sadien added that, in 2022, a similar auction was suspended at the request of Sahra, due to the ongoing legal proceedings.
The proceeds from the February auction were expected to fund the creation of the Mandela Memorial Garden around Madiba’s grave in Qunu, Eastern Cape.
Sahra lauded Guernsey for its “sensitivity” surrounding the auctioning of the former president’s belongings and welcomed the company’s decision to suspend the sale, saying it adhered to its commitment to conserving South Africa’s cultural heritage and artefacts.
“As Sahra pursues the application for leave to appeal the recent high court judgment related to the export of heritage objects, the suspension of the auction is a responsible and considerate approach.
“It allows the ongoing legal proceedings to be concluded and allows Sahra to pursue its objective of preserving our nation’s cultural heritage,” said the agency.