JOHANNESBURG: While national flags fly at half-mast in honor of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, conversation continues around the controversies surrounding her political life.
Much of the focus in on her alleged involvement in the killing of 14-year-old youth activist Stompie Moeketsi Seipei. Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke formed part of her legal team that represented her at the time.
In an interview with Business Day on Tuesday night, Moseneke described her as “near to fearless” during her trial, and someone who suffered “pain that is not immediately describable”.
“He points out…that she was never tried over Stompie Seipei’s murder and was in fact tried for the kidnapping of four young men who the Appeal Court accepted she believed were being abused and in danger.”
“Her chief body guard Jerry Richardson was convicted of Stompie’s murder and tried to lay blame on her. Moseneke says there simply wasn’t the evidence to suggest that she was directly involved with that at all.”
“He said that in his eyes, she is an absolute heroine, with an incredible ability to be able to take on injustice and soak up pain in a way that is not immediately describable. He also says that the full extent of what she endured has never been fully ventilated.”
But the “hype” surrounding the case was not proportionate to what Madikizela-Mandela was actually convicted of, Moseneke told Business Day.
“There were no findings of murder against her, and there were no findings that she assaulted Stompie in any way. Did she move the young people from where they were? Yes. Did she believe they might have been abused? That was her subjective belief, and that is why she acted the way she did. Was every decision she made wise? No, not every one,” he said.
“Anyone who calls her a monster is talking rubbish. She was wonderful.”
Madikizela-Mandela will be buried at the same cemetery as her great-granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, at the Fourways Memorial Park near Sandton.