Winnie Madikizela Mandela gets 5-year jail sentence for theft

Pretoria- South Africa (PANA) -- The Pretoria Magistrate Court Friday sentenced Winnie Madikizela Mandela to five years in jail for multiple counts of fraud and theft, ending the political career of one of South Africa's most charismatic figures of the liberation struggle.
The glamorous 66-year-old politician, who was sentenced just before midday, announced in a prepared statement that she was resigning all her political positions in the ruling ANC, where she was the Women's League president.
She also resigned from her position as Member of Parliament.
Delivering the sentence, Magistrate Peet Johnson told a packed courthouse that Madikizela-Mandela would not spend a long time in jail because of her contribution to the history of South Africa.
He said one year of the five-year sentence would be suspended on condition that Madikizela-Mandela was not convicted of a similar offence.
Johnson, who a day earlier found Madikizela-Mandela and co- accused Addy Moolman guilty of multiple counts of fraud and theft in a loan scam from the now-defunct Saambou Bank, said the former wife of international statesman Nelson Mandela would serve only eight months in jail.
He said the rest the sentence would be converted to community service.
Earlier court proceedings were briefly disrupted by Julius Malema, leader of the Congress of South African Students, when he stood up and shouted "Mama, you are a victim of the revolution.
" Malema was immediately escorted out of the court by security personnel.
Another man who was later identified as "Malcom X of Wits University" was also ejected form the court for disruptive behaviour.
Outside, police on horseback struggled to contain a huge agitated crowd, many of the people who came out in support of the Madikizela-Mandela, fondly called "Mother of the Nation," for her role in improving the lives of the poor.
Magistrate Johnson sentenced Moolman to seven years in jail, suspending two.
Madikizela-Mandela and Moolman were both granted leave to appeal and their bail was extended.
However, Magistrate Johnson raised their bail to 10,000 rand each.
Although hundreds of ordinary people came to support Madikizela- Mandela, the ANC leadership was conspicuously absent.
"Where are the ANC leaders, why are they not here?" yelled a disappointed sympathiser.
"The magistrate was white, the prosecutor was white, the complainant [Saambou Bank] was white and the witnesses were white," another agitator yelled, querying: "How can you expect justice from these people who by their nature are generally racist?" But the majority appeared relieved when they heard that Madikizela-Mandela was granted leave to appeal.

25 april 2003 12:33:00

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