Winnie Mandela's response to NPA talk of impending prosecution

Pops Templeton Mageza says it is unlikely that courts would come to a different view to that of the TRC




At the outset Mrs Mandela wishes to affirm the right of Institutions of her own Government to lawfully carry out all such tasks as may be necessary to bring closure to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission including but not limited to the tracing, finding and exhumation of all comrades unaccounted for following the long internecine political war and armed struggle against the evils of apartheid.

Mrs Mandela is at peace in the secure knowledge that the present (post Polokwane) administration of President Zuma, Deputy President Motlanthe, Justice Minister Radebe and other fellow comrades is the most politically upright and responsible administration she has had the benefit of ever living under in her own country of birth. Political peace has reigned over the land since January 2008 and this Government has done all it can to even accommodate some of the most vile of the previous administration.

In addition, Mrs Mandela has utmost confidence in the (post 1994) Judiciary of this country, operating as it does under a democratic Constitution for which she worked to bring about and she fully believes her rights will always be vindicated when the need arises in the same way this Judiciary has done in the run up to the 1994 ANC Conference when City Press inexplicably attempted to parade Xoliswa Falati in a press conference designed to present inane mutterings as evidence of her complicity in the Jerry Richardson murders of the late Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala.


Mrs Winnie Mandela is a disciplined and loyal member of the African National Congress. Her lifelong dedication and selfless-sacrifice to the liberation of her people has never been diminished even by those who (in 1994 and 1995) utilized High State office, Ministerial capacity and apartheid Police Intelligence agent remnants to politically destroy her and many others they viewed as populists within the ANC.

In March 1995, General Fivaz as Commissioner of Police; the Minister of Police Mafumadi, and those of her political enemies to whom they reported, raided her home and offices accompanied by a huge media contingent.

This raid, undertaken on spurious grounds and on the strength of defective Search and Seizure Warrants in a public and international spectacle was brought to a halt by the Gauteng High Court in a judgment which set this Search Warrant resulting in a legal success and a major political embarrassment and Judicial rebuke for her political enemies. 

The NPA media statement

Mrs Mandela wishes to express her surprise and shock at the statement issued by one Phindi Louw on behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority in which she asserts that there are processes currently underway which will lead to her prosecution for the deaths of the late Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala.

To her knowledge, these are matters that have already been comprehensively dealt with in open transparent televised public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at Mayfair Johannesburg in 1997 to which she offered to present herself and at which she was represented by Adv Semenya SC. The TRC subpoenaed and called before it all persons who could assist it in arriving at a determination as regards how the two cadres whose bodies have now been identified had been murdered. These witnesses included the late Xoliswa Falati, Jerry Richardson and Mr Sono father of late Lolo Sono.

Pursuant to this, the TRC issued a final report in which findings most material to the disappearance of Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala were made. It is a matter of public record and the full TRC report is available and accessible online with minimum effort. This report contains inter alia the following findings:

1. The two deceased currently being exhumed were admittedly murdered by one Jerry Richardson at his home where these young men lived. According to Jerry Richardson, at the time of his trial, he did so as the deceased had passed information to apartheid police on the presence of two MK cadres - Tebogo Maluleke and Sipho Mbenenge - later shot by police in an ambush that also led to the death of one Sergeant Pretorius who happened to be Richardson's handler.

Furthermore, pursuant to an application by Richardson for amnesty, The TRC made the following finding -

"... Richardson applied for amnesty for murdering Sono and Tshabalala on the basis that he received orders from Ms Madikizela - Mandela to do so. However the Commission found no evidence to support this and finds that these killings served Richardson's interests in that they deflected suspicion away from himself regarding his personal responsibility for the death of the MK cadres at his house."

2. The information that Jerry Richardson was a paid police spy was revealed by National Police Commissioner George Fivaz (who had raided Mrs Mandela shortly before on a different pretext) at the TRC hearing.

TRC investigator, Piers Pigou, using information from a National Intelligency Agency report dated 21 April 1995, said Richardson was paid R10 000.00 by police for information about the whereabouts of the bodies of Sono and Tshabalala. Fivaz indicated that Richardson would not give the information unless police he was paid R10 000.00 they owed him for his informing activities while he was ‘coach' of the club in 1989.

Fivaz said this payment was intended to:

"... oil his hands to co-operate with the investigations into the disappearance of Sono and Tshabalala."

Piers Pigou, TRC investigator expressed shock that, "... the SAPS is involved in oiling the palms of a convicted murderer to implicate someone else?" ie Mrs Mandela.

3. Throughout the 80's, Mrs Mandela's Soweto house was under security police surveillance and at the TRC, former security policeman Paul Erasmus said Richardson supplied the police with information on the Madikizela-Mandela household which was under 24-hour police surveillance.   

4. Jerry Richardson was sentenced to life imprisonment for these criminal offences and later died in prison.

5. Katiza Cebekhulu was interviewed by one Warrant Officer Moodley, sent to London by General Fivaz (where Cebekhulu resides) in 1995 to collect possible incriminating evidence against Mrs Mandela. He gave the police so many different versions in the space of a week that they abandoned the excursion and returned to South Africa empty handed.

6. In so far as Mrs Mandela all that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission observed was that:

 "... Madikizela- Mandela was negligent in that she failed to institute enquiries into the deaths of the two cadres (Maluleke and Mbenenge) at the time..."

7. Xoliswa Falati, who has also since passed on, gave several versions of what had happened not only in respect of the Sono and Tshabalala disappearances but also led and pointed out to investigators different sites of where the two cadres had been buried.

8. The father of Lolo Sono and unfortunately many others have also since passed, memories fade with time. It is difficult to legally imagine how and what new evidence is contemplated, if the TRC confronted with so much diverse testimony, some of which possibly inadmissible in the Courts, Courts could come to a finding different to that of the TRC.



Statement issued by Pops Templeton Mageza, Senior Attorney, March 16 2013

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter