Winnie assailed over 'unsolved crimes'

John Carlin
Friday 26 August 1994 23:02 BST

THE LEADER of South Africa's minority Democratic Party, Tony Leon, yesterday launched a ferocious attack in parliament on Winnie Mandela, the Deputy Minister of Arts, Science, Culture and Technology. To howls of rage from African National Congress backbenchers, Mr Leon listed a string of 'unsolved crimes' allegedly associated with Mrs Mandela.

Quoting liberally from an article that appeared in the Independent four years ago, Mr Leon cited the case of Lolo Sono, a young man from Soweto who was last seen by his father battered and bruised in the custody of Mrs Mandela and members of her so- called 'football club' in November 1988. 'He is today missing, presumed dead,' Mr Leon said.

Mr Leon, who was continually subjected to 'point of order' interruptions by ANC MPs, then dwelt on the experiences of Lerotodi Ikaneng, a former football club member who survived two attempts on his life, one of them by Mrs Mandela's football club 'coach' and chief bodyguard, Jerry Richardson.

'In a remarkable series of three interviews to the Independent in London, he opened up the Pandora's Box of the activities within Mrs Mandela's home,' Mr Leon said. Noting Mrs Mandela's 'propensity to sue newspapers for matters both trivial and serious', he wondered out aloud why it was that she had 'never attempted to institute any proceedings for defamation' against the Independent.

Mr Leon's speech came in response to what he described as the recent 'spectacle' of Mrs Mandela 'dismissing the highest court in the land, the Appellate Division, as 'the apartheid court' '. On 9 August, Mrs Mandela told parliament that her conviction three years ago on charges of assault and kidnapping in relation to the notorious affair involving the death of the teeenager 'Stompie' Moeketsi Seipei had provided yet another example of the unjust workings of the apartheid state.

Mr Leon, picking up on the deputy minister's claim that journalists had distorted the facts against her to depict a 'bloody horror show', all but burst the blood vessels of a number of ANC MPs when he pointed out that the first people to convict Mrs Mandela had come neither from the judiciary nor the press.

'It was the dedicated work of three members of this Parliament, namely Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, Mr Sydney Mufamadi and Sister Bernard Ncube, who formed part of the Crisis Committee, assisted by another ANC member of parliament, Mr Archie Gumede, who first revealed the true extent of Mrs Mandela's criminal activities in and around Soweto in 1989.'

It was they, Mr Leon said, who drew up a statement in February 1989 expressing outrage at 'the reign of terror' associated with Mrs Mandela's football club.

Mr Leon, who ran out of time to conclude his prepared speech because of continual interjections, indicated that the state had engaged in a conspiracy to ensure that Mrs Mandela was not punished for all her crimes. Mrs Mandela was not present yesterday.

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