16 April 2018

South Africa: Former Minister Addresses Explosive Claims Made in #WinnieMandela Documentary

Cape Town — Winnie, a documentary created by filmmaker Pascal Lamche, which aired on local news channel eNCA, has ignited calls for former minister of safety and security Sydney Mufamadi to answer for his role in the reopening of investigations surrounding the murder of anti-Apartheid activist, Stompie Seipei, The South African reports. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault in 1991 following Seipei's death.

"The recently broadcast documentary by Pascal Lamche has generated discussions in the public and social media. Some of the statements [made] in the documentary need a response and an intervention that will put these matters into proper perspective," Mufamadi said in a statement.

During a press briefing, Mufamadi alleged that former Democratic Party leader Tony Leon was responsible for the reopening of the investigations into Madikizela-Mandela during his tenure as minister between 1994 and 1999, saying: "Why are we taking Tony Leon out of the equation? I am saying these investigations took place at the behest of Tony Leon - I'm talking about the ones that we know, right? They took place at the behest of Tony Leon."

According to IOL, Mufamadi elaborated, dismissing a claim made by former head of the murder and robbery squad Henk Heslinga that, as the then safety and security minister, Hesslinger allegedly approached him in 1995 to reopen the investigation into Seipei's death.

In the Winnie documentary, Heslinga said: "The minister [Mufamadi] told me we must re-start the investigation into all cases on Winnie Mandela from Stompie right through and try to get evidence so that she can be tried for murder."

Further, Vic McPherson, former Stratcom boss and ex-Security Branch operative, details in the documentary how the apartheid government launched smear campaigns against anti-apartheid activists by using journalists, and how Madikizela-Mandela was a main target in this regard, said this EWN report.

The South African National Editors' Forum has spoken out against claims of journalists colluding with the apartheid regime, saying in a statement: "Given this context of lies and propaganda, we believe it is critical that concrete evidence is brought forward to substantiate claims that specific journalists supported the apartheid state's security establishment ... In the absence of any such evidence, the circulation of unsubstantiated rumours is irresponsible, dangerous and extremely damaging to media freedom and the media environment as a whole."

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