Winnie Mandela gets suspended sentence

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- The Pretoria High Court on Monday suspended a five-year jail sentence against Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who was convicted in April 2003 on 43 charges of fraud and 25 of theft involving R1million.
Winnie, former wife of South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela, had appealed to the High Court last year after she was convicted for theft and fraud involving bank loans she obtained for non-African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) employees using ANCWL letterheads.
In his ruling Monday, Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann dismissed the 25 theft charges against the former ANCWL president but upheld those for fraud and replaced the five-year sentence with a suspended one.
The judge also noted that the crimes were not committed for personal gain.
Winnie, after the ruling, said she would appeal the court's judgement to uphold the 43 fraud charges.
Reacting to the court ruling, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said it respects the judgement handed down by the Pretoria High Court although it would have "obviously preferred that all charges against Winnie be dropped".
"We respect the rule of law and hope that the Judge in his judgement considered all the relevant facts in arriving at this particular judgement.
"Winnie is a tried and tested leader of the ANC who has gone through hard experiences and sacrifices in the process of the liberation struggle.
Her experiences and leadership is valued by everyone across the racial spectrum in our country and throughout the world.
It is because of this wealth of experience and leadership that we believe she still has a valuable role to play in our society," the party said in a statement.

05 july 2004 14:42:00




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