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Saturday, November 29, 1997 Published at 19:06 GMT

The Winnie Mandela Trial

The testimony against Winnie
image: [ Winnie Mandela, accused of grave crimes, relaxes at home with her family ]
Winnie Mandela, accused of grave crimes, relaxes at home with her family

Monday, November 24

Nicodemus Sono said he last saw his son Lolo alive in 1988 in a van in which Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was riding, but she told him his son was a spy to be dealt with by the anti-apartheid movement.

Thami Hlatshwayo, a former supporter of Mrs Mandikizela-Mandela, testified that he believed she was behind the murder of Vincent Sefako, a member of the armed wing of the ANC.

And Phumlile Dlamini said Mrs Madikizela-Mandela attacked her in a rage in 1988 because she was pregnant by Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's lover. Mrs Dlamini testified that she was slapped and punched in the face.

Tuesday, November 25

Katiza Cebekhulu, one of Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's former bodyguards, said he saw her plunge a "shining" object twice into 14-year-old activist Stompie Seipei late one night in 1988.

This evidence was different to previous accounts given by Mr Cebekhulu and to other witnesses in that it was the first testimony stating that Mrs Mandikizela-Mandela had fatally attacked Stompei personally.

Xoliswa Falati said she saw Mrs Madikizela-Mandela punch Stompei and set her bodyguards on him. She also said she heard Mrs Madikizela-Mandela order a murder in 1992.

Wednesday, November 26

Paul Verryn, a Methodist minister, asked Mrs Mandikizela-Mandela to withdraw accusations that he had abused children in his care such as Stompei. He also said he wished he had done more to save Stompei by taking him away from Mrs Mandikizela-Mandela's house.

Outside the hearing, British former-MP Emma Nicholson, who has been hiding Katiza Cebekhulu, said she hoped to launch a private prosecution against Mrs Madikizela-Mandela on behalf of the victims' families.

Thursday, November 27

Azhar Cachalia, a former human rights lawyer and now South Africa's Secretary for Safety and Security, said her bodyguards - the Mandela United Football Club - were vigilantes who ruled Soweto with an iron fist in the 1980s.

He said Mrs Madikizela-Mandela "at best was aware and encouraged this criminal activity. At worst, she directed it and actively participated in the assaults."

Cyril Mbatha, who was convicted of killing Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's doctor in 1989, told the BBC outside the hearings that he had done so on her orders. He said she had promised him $6,000 and had given him the gun to do it with.

Friday, November 28

South African police chief, George Fivaz, defended his decision not to proceed with charges against Winnie Madikizela-Mandela following the murder of her doctor in 1989. He said the case had been re-opened in 1995 but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Mr Fivaz also said that Jerry Richardson, once head of Mandela United, had been a police informer for seven years.

Azar Cachalia pleaded with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela to tell the truth about her involvement in past crimes. At the end of his evidence, he admitted to emotional confusion about his relationship with her. Their families were long-time friends, he said, but it was important that leaders were held accountable for their actions.

A security branch police officer, Paul Erasmus, testified that the police had spread disinformation about Mrs Mandikizela-Mandela in 1994 in an attempt to stop her getting elected. He said a number of British politicians, including Tory MPs, had helped spread the rumours.

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