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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Eyewitness: Winnie in the dock
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie after her low-key court appearance in Pretoria

It was a Winnie Madikizela-Mandela without the characteristic flamboyance or the usual entourage who entered court for a second day in Pretoria for the start of the trial for fraud and theft.

There was no flowing gold embroidered jacket of Monday's brief appearance but a low-key red suit.

She sat quietly in the dock with her grey-suited co-accused, Addy Moolman, a tall man in his fifties with a wispy white beard.

The two quietly pleaded not guilty to the 85 charges and both sat attentively taking notes as the first witness from the bank alleged to have been defrauded slowly answered his questions in Afrikaans.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is on trial again, this time for fraud
She is no stranger to arrest and trial

The court official translated the evidence piece by piece into English.

The court was packed for a second day but without the obvious presence of the African National Congress Women's League members sporting their organisation's scarves who travelled to Pretoria from Johannesburg on Monday to give their president moral support.

Jail sentence

She is no stranger to court, since her conviction for kidnapping a young boy in 1989 - a boy later found murdered.

The panel of three officials at the bench listened carefully as evidence of the fraud was put to the court by the state and the witnesses were cross-examined.

At a magistrate's court trial, there is no jury. Two assessors sit either side of the presiding magistrate each with an equal say in deciding the verdict.

Interestingly, a black and a coloured assessor joined the white justice as those responsible for deciding on a case which could result in a minimum 15 year jail sentence if no special conditions are applied.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
She still represents black power for the poor

Along with her supporters in the public gallery were dozens of members of the press - South African and from the international media.

A regular fraud hearing has been catapulted to international interest because of the character of accused number two. A women still seen by many as a champion of the poor living on her reputation as a selfless and tireless campaigner against white minority rule.

A women who served 17 months in solitary confinement for her beliefs in a cause but now a shadow of the "Mother of the Nation" that many remember. She still looks fabulous for her age - whether it be 65 or 67 - she claims not to know.

But whether found innocent or guilty the front page headlines and international attention can only tarnish further the reputation of this deeply controversial figure.


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08 Jul 02 | Africa
09 Jul 02 | Africa
08 Jul 02 | Africa
30 Oct 98 | Truth and Reconciliation
27 May 99 | South Africa elections
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