Police raid Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's home

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- Police swooped on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's Soweto home at the weekend in search of documents related to bank fraud.
Investigations into a scam which involved women who, in spite of not qualifying for loans from a bank, managing to do so by allegedly using the ANC Women's League stationery.
Madikizela- Mandela leads the league.
Her daughter, Zinzi Hlogwane-Mandela, said police searched her mother's Soweto mansion.
She declined to say whether police found any evidence linking her mother to the bank fraud.
Last month police said Madikizela-Mandela was assisting them with their investigations and that she was not a suspect.
But the Sunday raid suggests that she may suspect otherwise in the fraud believed to be around one million rand (1 USD = R7.
Apparently fraudsters using the women's league stationery duped Saambou Bank into authorising their loan applications.
At the time police said it appeared fraudsters forged Madikizela- Mandela's signature when they made loan applications from the bank.
When newspapers got wind of the story last month, Madikizela-Mandela tried to stop them from publishing articles, which said her organisation, was facilitating the acquisition of fraudulent loans from a bank.
The matter was brought before acting Judge Geoff Budlender who refused the application with costs.
After hearing arguments from both sides, he said he had not been persuaded the article in question was defamatory.
The Sunday Times' article said: "Madikizela-Mandela had been drawn into a R1 million loan scandal in which money was doled out to bogus employees of the ANC Women's League.
" Sunday Times lawyer Gilbert Marcus argued that the article was not damaging to Madikizela-Mandela.
"Ordinary people will simply not form the impression that there is fraud out there being operated in the personal capacity (by Madikizela-Mandela) under the guise of the women's league," said Marcus.
The paper alleged that the police was investigating Madikizela-Mandela's daughter, Zinzi, over a loan from Saambou bank.
The Sunday Times said it was in possession of documents which showed that a Johannesburg woman, retrenched from her job earlier this month, got a loan of R19,500.
Police said they were investigating other fraudulent loan applications which had been accompanied by a letter head from the women's league signed "NM Mandela.
" Saambou had granted the loans of between R3,000 and R20,000 under a micro lending policy.
Madikizela-Mandela told reporters that she had asked the police to investigate two of her women's league colleagues whom she suspected had forged her signature to acquire loans from the bank.
Madikizela-Mandela's advocate Terry Motau argued that the article would defame his client and her daughter's image because readers would believe they were involved in a scam.
"There is irreparable harm that Madikizela-Mandela stands to suffer.
She has the right to a good name, dignity and reputation," said Motau.
But the judge was not convinced that the allegations were defamatory, while the police remained tight-lipped on the raid.

04 june 2001 19:52:00

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