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Mon Nov 24 08:42:42 SAST 2014

Winnie Mandela 'shocked' at NPA comments

Sapa | 16 March, 2013 15:58
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. File photo.
Image by: KEVIN SUTHERLAND

ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is shocked by comments from the NPA that she might be prosecuted for the deaths of two men, her lawyer said on Saturday.

"Mrs Mandela wishes to express her surprise and shock at the statement issued by one Phindi Louw on behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority in which she asserts that there are processes currently underway which will lead to her prosecution for the deaths of the late Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala," attorney Pops Templeton Mageza said in a statement.

"To her knowledge, these are matters that have already been comprehensively dealt with in open transparent televised public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)."

Louw could not be immediately reached for comment.

The remains of two men were exhumed on Tuesday, 25 years after they went missing.

The bodies were found in Avalon Cemetery, in Soweto.

Mageza said Madikizela-Mandela had offered to present herself at the TRC.

"The TRC subpoenaed and called before it all persons who could assist it in arriving at a determination as regards how the two cadres whose bodies have now been identified had been murdered," he said.

"These witnesses included the late Xoliswa Falati, Jerry Richardson and Mr Sono father of late Lolo Sono."

He said the TRC issued a final report on the disappearance of the two. It determined that Sono and Tshabalala were murdered by Richardson.

"According to Jerry Richardson, at the time of his trial, he did so as the deceased had passed information to apartheid police on the presence of two MK [Umkhonto we Sizwe] cadres -- Tebogo Maluleke and Sipho Mbenenge."

Richardson applied for amnesty at the TRC on the basis that he received orders to murder the two from Madikizela-Mandela.

The TRC found that there was no evidence to support his claims.

"In so far as Mrs Mandela all that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission observed was that: '… Madikizela-Mandela was negligent in that she failed to institute enquiries into the deaths of the two cadres at the time...'," Mageza said.

TRC investigator, Piers Pigou, using information from the National Intelligence Agency said at the time Richardson was paid R10,000 by police for information about the whereabouts of the bodies of Sono and Tshabalala.

Former national police commissioner George Fivaz said that Richardson would not give the information unless police paid R10,000 for his informing activities.

Richardson was sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime and later died in prison.

"It is difficult to legally imagine how and what new evidence is contemplated, if the TRC confronted with so much diverse testimony, some of which possibly inadmissible in the courts, courts could come to a finding different to that of the TRC," Mageza said.

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