Mrs. Mandela Is Accused of Separate Attacks
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Prosecutors in Winnie Mandela’s kidnap and assault trial charged Monday that she helped abduct and beat three other men in 1988, and that one of the victims disappeared.
Prosecutor Jan Swanepoel asked to introduce testimony that Mrs. Mandela was involved in earlier incidents similar to four cases in which she has been charged.
Chief defense attorney Goerge Bizos argued that related evidence could not affect Mrs. Mandela’s trial, even if she were found guilty of the current kidnapping and assault charges.
″To say what Mrs. Mandela might have done in October or November is not one of the issues,″ Bizos said. He accused the state of trying to bolster a faltering case.
Justice M.S. Stegmann said he would rule on the state’s motion Tuesday.
Mrs. Mandela, wife of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, is charged with the kidnapping and assault of four young men in Dec. 1988. Two testified in the Supreme Court trial, and one disappeared before he was due to testify. The fourth, Stompie Seipei, was found dead. Mrs. Mandela’s chief bodyguard was convicted last year of killing him.
Mrs. Mandela has said she is innocent.
Referring to the new alleged incidents, prosecutors claimed that two men were beaten in September 1988. The pair were taken in a bus with Mrs. Mandela and brought to Mrs. Mandela’s Soweto home, they said. She was there ″at some stage during the assaults,″ prosecutors claimed.
″They were assaulted ... by being lifted up and dropped, and by having a plastic bag pulled over their heads,″ the state said. The men were released the next day, prosecutors said.
The prosecution also claimed that Mrs. Mandela told the father of a 21- year-old man in November 1988 that his son was being taken away. The state said that the youth was taken to Mrs. Mandela’s house, assaulted, and ″was never seen again.″
Bizos accused Swanepoel of trying to bolster a case in trouble. Kenneth Kgase, one of the state’s two main witnesses, admitted last week he lied in court about his background.
Kgase and Tabiso Mono were among the four young men allegedly assaulted in the case on trial.
Mrs. Mandela and three co-defendants pleaded innocent on Feb. 11 to charges they kidnapped four young men from a Methodist Church home in December 1988, then beat them at Mrs. Mandela’s house to force confessions of homosexual relations with a white minister or spying for police.
Mrs. Mandela said the young men were taken to her house to protect them from homosexuality at the church home. But she said she was out of town when the incidents occured.