Winnie in new scandal over Bhutto cash

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The Independent Online
New scandals enveloped President Nelson Mandela's ANC-led government yesterday as his estranged wife, Winnie, was accused of not handing over a £140,000 donation from Benazir Bhutto. Meanwhile, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, Allan Boesak, was forced to resign as ambassador-designate to the UN in Geneva.

President Mandela said he accepted Mr Boesak's offer with understanding and regret. But political danger is greater from scandals surrounding Mrs Mandela, the Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. The latest allegation in the row between her and the African National Congress Women's League is that she had failed to pass on a gift from the Pakistani Prime Minister. State television quoted Baleka Kgositsile, one of 11 members who quit the League last week in protest at her leadership, as saying Ms Bhutto gave the money at a league function during President Mandela's inauguration last year. A spokesman for Mrs Mandela said the money had never been intended for the League but was earmarked for poor black communities

Mr Mandela was also forced yesterday to respond to her stinging criticism of the government at a funeral on 5 February. He is reported to have issued an ultimatum that she should either retract her criticism or resign.

He did not address directly allegations that Mrs Mandela used her office to promote the business affairs of their daughter, Zindzi, and Mrs Mandela's tourism alliance with the actor Omar Sharif.

In a letter to Mr Mandela, a copy of which was obtained by the Independent, she wrote: "I must make it abundantly clear that it was not my intention to insult the President or to embarrass the Government of National Unity. I was merely trying to assure the masses that the ANC are aware of and concerned about the flaws that the government must still deal with. The impression of the people is that we neither care nor know about these things. I was trying to correct that perception. If in doing so I created a different impression, that was not my intention."

Meanwhile, Mr Boesak, a former preacher and president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, said he awaited full investigation of allegations that he used money given to help the struggle against apartheid to pay for a house, luxury travel and repay the debts of his second wife, Elna.

Only two bad apples? page 19