[QODLink]
Africa

New probe into Winnie Mandela-linked pair

New investigation launched into apartheid-era disappearances, implicating Nelson Mandela's ex-wife.
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2012 10:29
Madikizela-Mandela has been accused of ordering four murders, including that of Stompie Sepei [EPA]

A specialised missing persons unit in South Africa has opened a new investigation into the 1988 disappearance of two men last seen in the company of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, prosecutors said.

Authorities said new information caused them to reopen the case of Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala. The two young men figured into Madikizela-Mandela's chaotic life in Soweto when she ran a soccer club and faced a host of allegations that she and those under her committed violent attacks.

The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa's Missing Persons Task Team, assigned to investigate disappearances from the apartheid era, is handling the investigation.

Already, investigators have taken DNA samples from Shabalala and Sono's family members, spokesman Makhosini Nkosi said in a statement.

"The investigations into this case are still ongoing and possible burial sites are still being examined on the basis of recently obtained information," Nkosi said. "No exact burial sites have yet been confirmed or excavated."

Bodyguard unit

Madikizela-Mandela married Mandela in 1958 and they spent 27 years apart while Mandela was imprisoned by South Africa's racist white government.

While beloved by some, her behaviour grew increasingly erratic in the 1980s as crackdowns against her and the African National Congress liberation movement grew increasingly intense.

She and her former bodyguard unit, known as the Mandela United Football Club, were accused of committing 18 killings
and other crimes during this period.

The violence by young men she allowed to sleep at her house and sponsored as a soccer club caused the mainstream anti-apartheid movement to ostracise her.

Exiled ANC leaders, on instructions from her jailed husband, ordered the club's disbandment.

Madikizela-Mandela later was convicted on kidnapping and assault charges involving four young men in 1991. Initially sentenced to six years in jail, she was ordered to pay a $3,200 fine on appeal.

In 1997, as she appeared before the country's Truth and Reconciliation Committee in what she described as an attempt to clear her name, Sono's father Nicodemus testified that he saw his son and Madikizela-Mandela in the same van.

He said his son's face was puffy from a beating.

Asked why his son was attacked, Nicodemus Sono said Madikizela-Mandela told him his son was a spy who needed to be dealt with. The van drove away, and Nicodemus Sono said it was the last time he ever saw his son.

When it came time for her to offer testimony, Madikizela-Mandela described most of the accusations as "ludicrous," "lunacy" or "ridiculous".

Madikizela-Mandela divorced Mandela in 1997. She currently is a member of the now-governing ANC political party's national executive committee.

433

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list