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Thursday, November 27, 1997 Published at 21:18 GMT


Anti-apartheid activists damn Winnie
image: [ Another bad day for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ]
Another bad day for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

On the fourth day of the hearing into Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's actions during the 1980s, two high-profile anti-apartheid campaigners have blamed her for violent outbreaks.

Azhar Cachalia, a former human rights lawyer and now South Africa's Secretary for Safety and Security, said the so-called Mandela United Football Club became a law unto themselves.

"The football club often dispensed their frightening brand of justice, which included vicious assaults in cases ranging from domestic disputes to those who crossed their paths and were branded as informers," he told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"At best for Mrs Mandela, she was aware and encouraged this criminal activity. At worst, she directed it and actively participated in the assaults."

Mr Cachalia and the other witness before the commission, Murphy Morobe, were leaders of the Mass Democratic Movement during the 1980s.

Mr Morobe read from a 1989 statement, which distance his organisation from Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and her entourage who dominated the Soweto township.

"We are outraged at Mrs Mandela's complicity in the recent abductions and assault of Stompie (Seipei)," who was subsequently killed after being accused of being a police informer."

He added: "Those of us right in the centre of things, felt the intensity of the problem."

So far, the commission has heard the evidence of more than 20 witnesses. Mrs Madikizela-Mandela is accused of a total of 18 human rights abuses.

She has denied all the charges and declined to comment after Thursday's hearing.

The special session had originally been intended to last a week but has now been extended by three days.

Also on Thursday, the BBC learned of new allegations that she ordered a man to kill a doctor who had been her friend.

The South African Safety and Security Minister, Sydney Mufamadi, told a news conference it could not yet be determined whether the charges should be investigated by police.

"I have tremendous respect for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission," he said.

"I think it would be incorrect for me to make any recommendations on their behalf. I'll wait until such time as they are ready, having evaluated all the information, to make recommendations."

But the Chairman of the Truth Commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on Thursday became impatient, both with some witnesses' testimony and with their failure to have acted on their suspicions previously.

"Sometimes answers are not as straight as we had hoped they would be," Archbishop Tutu said.

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