Widespread reaction to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's sentencing

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Major reaction have been voiced to a South African court's decision today to sentence anti- apartheid heroine Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to five years in jail with one year suspended.
The previous day, the former wife of Nelson Mandela was convicted on dozens of counts for fraud and theft.
The ruling African National Congress said it respected the due process of the law.
"Believing that every person has the right to exhaust the full course of the law, we recognise the fact that she has filed for leave to appeal and hope she will be given the opportunity to exercise her full rights under the law," said ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama.
But most opposition political parties welcomed the court's ruling.
African Christian Democratic Party leader, the Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, said it respected the decision and called on Madikizela- Mandela to resign as a Member of Parliament.
"As an MP and political leader, she should be a person of character beyond reproach.
The fact that she was found guilty by the courts means she should do the honourable thing and step down.
"We trust that many people will learn from her mistakes, that corruption is inexcusable and that no one is above the law, regardless of how popular they are with the masses," he said.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance said MPs and Parliament itself have suffered under a cloud because of the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela scandal and it is now time to "stop the rot.
" The Congress of South African Students stated that the guilty verdict against Madikizela-Mandela was because "the magistrate and prosecutor were white and the court represents the Boer regime.
" However, the Freedom Front hit back, saying Congress had made a "racist statement and an open attack on the judicial system of this country.
"

25 april 2003 13:39:00




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