[IWAR] SOUTH AFRICA Mandela denial

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Thu Dec 04 1997 - 10:13:58 PST

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                      Winnie Madikizela-Mandela denies accusations
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (December 4, 1997 12:06 p.m. EST
       http://www.nando.net) -- A defiant Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, her temper
       flaring at times during her long-awaited testimony, denied Thursday she
       ordered killings or committed atrocities and dismissed allegations
       against her as lunacy.
       Composed and unrepentant before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
       the ex-wife of President Nelson Mandela denied all allegations against
       her and insisted some of her accusers made them up.
       She described as "ludicrous, and the worst lunacy," the charge that she
       ordered the death of 14-year-old Stompie Seipei in late 1988 or early
       1989. And she said the allegation she ordered her former chief bodyguard
       Jerry Richardson to kill others was "ridiculous."
       Afterward, when relatives of those who were beaten and killed were asked
       to stand so their suffering could be acknowledged, Seipei's mother,
       Joyce Seipei, unexpectedly embraced and kissed Madikizela-Mandela.
       Madikizela-Mandela's testimony followed eight days of statements about
       her conduct by more than 30 witnesses. The Truth Commission is
       investigating 18 human rights abuses -- including murder and torture --
       allegedly committed by Madikizela-Mandela and her bodyguards, known as
       the Mandela United Football Club.
       The commission, which is investigating apartheid-era human rights
       violations, lacks the power to press criminal charges but can turn over
       the evidence it gathers to police.
       Residents of the black township of Soweto, where Madikizela-Mandela once
       defied the oppression of white rule, gathered in homes and churches to
       watch her nationally televised testimony. Many expressed disillusionment
       with the woman they once revered and said she should pay for any
       "She doesn't remember anything. She denies everything," Bobby Wauchope,
       37, shouted while watching the hearing at a Baptist mission. "She should
       be prosecuted for all the murders."
       Madikizela-Mandela appeared intent on denying all the accusations in a
       bid to maintain her status as a popular anti-apartheid leader.
       She wants to run later this month for deputy president of the governing
       African National Congress, a position that could make her deputy
       president of the country after national elections in 1999. The
       mainstream ANC leadership, including Mandela, opposes her nomination and
       the ANC Women's League, which nominated her, said it would reconsider
       its support.
       In a composed but defiant tone Thursday, Madikizela-Mandela accused some
       of her accusers of making up allegations.
       "I would never have needed protection from a character like that," she
       said of John Morgan, her former driver, who told the commission he lied
       in the past to provide Madikizela-Mandela with an alibi for the
       kidnapping and assault on Seipei and three other young men.
       She has been isolated from the mainstream leadership of the ANC because
       of the havoc she and her football club allegedly created in Soweto in
       the late 1980s.
       Madikizela-Mandela blamed many of her problems on an
       apartheid-government campaign to discredit her. An apartheid agent
       testified last week about the campaign, by a unit known as Stratcom, and
       how it spread rumors about Madikizela-Mandela.
       Madikizela-Mandela labeled one of her chief accusers, former football
       club member Katiza Cebekhulu, a "mental patient" and denied his various
       allegations against her.
       In a book published this year and at the hearing last week, Cebekhulu
       said he saw Madikizela-Mandela plunge a shiny object into Seipei's body
       and also ordered the killing of Soweto physician Abu-Baker Asvat.
       Cebekhulu, who disappeared in 1991 on the eve of Madikizela-Mandela's
       trial in the Seipei case, also claimed she arranged to get him out of
       the country.
       She rejected all the claims Thursday, calling Asvat a close friend whose
       death shocked and saddened her.
       Much of the testimony before the commission has been inconsistent and
       confusing, stemming in part from the almost 10 years that have elapsed
       and the anarchic atmosphere of township life at the time. But a
       recurring theme through all of it has been the domineering influence of
       Madikizela-Mandela and the football club.
       On Wednesday, the former coach of the football club said his hands were
       "full of blood" from carrying out Madikizela-Mandela's orders to kill.
       Richardson, a convicted murderer, also made other startling allegations
       in almost eight hours of testimony. He admitted to being a police spy
       and selling out two ANC guerrilla fighters killed in a shootout at his
       home, and he implied Madikizela-Mandela had cozy relations with
       apartheid agents in the late 1980s.
       His most damaging statements involved the vicious beating and subsequent
       killing of Seipei, allegedly on the orders of Madikizela-Mandela.
       "I killed Stompie under the instructions of Mami," he said, referring to
       Madikizela-Mandela by the name many at the time used for the woman once
       known as the mother of the nation. "Mami never killed anyone but she
       used us to kill a lot of people. She does not even visit us in prison,
       but she used us."
       Madikizela-Mandela, 63, has long denied such allegations. She testified
       in private before the Truth Commission earlier this year after being
       served with a subpoena, then asked for the public hearing that began
       Nov. 24 in a bid to clear her name.
       Richardson described a climate of intimidation and terror, with the
       football club meting out township discipline in the form of fierce
       beatings with fists, whips, kicks and the practice of dropping victims
       on the ground repeatedly. He claimed Madikizela-Mandela took part in
       some beatings.
       Killings such as Seipei's were punishment for people who defied
       Madikizela-Mandela and then were accused of being police informers,
       Richardson said.
       Richardson is serving a life sentence for the murder of Seipei.
       Madikizela-Mandela was convicted in 1991 of kidnapping Seipei and the
       other three young men and taking part in assaults on them. Initially
       sentenced to six years in jail, she eventually paid a $3,200 fine on
       The club caused such havoc that residents burned Madikizela-Mandela's
       house and the mainstream anti-apartheid leadership distanced itself from
       Nelson Mandela was in prison at the time. He was released in 1990. The
       couple separated in 1992 and divorced last year, with Madikizela-Mandela
       adding her maiden name to her married name. None of the accusations in
       this case concern him.
       By TOM COHEN, Associated Press Writer

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