A few months ago police confirmed that they have reopened the murder case of two more former freedom fighters, allegedly last seen at her house more than 20 years ago. Their bodies were exhumed in March.
In recent years, "the mother of the nation's" influence in the country and within the ruling party has waned, and the protection she once enjoyed along with it. Last year she was voted second-last in the party's national executive committee. She had been top of the list at the previous ANC conference in 2007.
Still, respected columnist and journalist Justice Malala says he is astonished Winnie Mandela couldn't get help from a single one of her former comrades.
Malala told CNN: "It's great that she was paying for her great niece's school fees but I'm surprised that firstly she didn't feel she could raise the money from her own salary and secondly that no-one in the ANC was willing to help her. She could have also approached the Mandela Trust. Mandela has given money to president Jacob Zuma before when he was in trouble."
Perhaps the most astonishing part of the tale is why her children and grandchildren appear to have stood by and watched as threats of an auction became more serious.
Two of her grandchildren, Zaziwe and Swati Dlamini have recently launched a reality show in the U.S. called "Being Mandela." They also have a clothing line named "Long Walk to Freedom" after their grandfather's autobiography. Their mother Zenani Dlamini, Winnie's eldest daughter, is South Africa's ambassador to Argentina.
Despite the family's many ventures and connections, Winnie's lawyer says money isn't always readily available.
Winnie Mandela has often courted controversy, but she is still adored by many in South Africa.
She endured years of torture, torment, banishment and imprisonment by the apartheid regime while fighting resolutely for racial equality in the country.
And despite her legal and financial troubles over the years, very few South Africans are celebrating her downfall. Many of them took to Twitter to express their solidarity. "We cannot forget Winnie Mandela who stood tall for three decades" wrote one person.