|12 February 2011
South Africa: Winnie Mandela To Face New Criminal Charges
She one of the most famous politician in the world, a former South
African Cabinet Minister, President of the African National Congress’s
Women’s League and of course former wife of Nelson Mandela.
Yet along with her fame has come international controversy. This
week a new case has been brought to court over an incident in which
Mandela and her bodyguards stand accused of intimidating and attacking a
police officer, Jannie Odendaal.
On December 30, 2010 Mandela’s car was stopped by the police after it
was alleged to be being driven at 150 kilometers in a 90 kilometer
zone. After being pulled over Mandela, her bodyguard began an argument
with the Officer.
Now the event is being taken to the court, backed by the officer’s
union who have marked the behavior of Mandela as verging on corrupt.
“We will not allow that the political elite intimidate members of
the police who are merely performing their duties properly,” said Dirk
Hermann, Deputy General Secretary, Solidarity, the union representing
the officer, and reported by the BBC.
It’s a case that will be heard by the South African court, an
institution that Mandela has been hauled before on a number of
The most controversial was when she was accused by ANC members of
being behind the ‘necklacing’ of a 14 year old boy, Stompie Seipei,
who died in 1989. During this period Mandela was being protected by a
group of young men called the ‘Mandela United Football Club
The members where charged with placing a car tire around the neck of the boy, lacing it with petrol, then setting it on fire.
In 1991 she was charged with being responsible for the kidnapping
and assault of Stompie. While Mandela denied the charges she was found
guilty of kidnapping and imprisoned for 6 months.
More recently Mandela has been accused of fraud and theft. After the scandal and she lost her Cabinet ministry.
Yet Mandela seems to be a boomerang politician, bouncing back after
every controversy. Today she holds the influential position of being a
member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
Now as the new allegations, against someone simply doing their job
may dampen her ability to move into further positions of influence.
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