JOHANNESBURG October 10 1998 - SAPA


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made "devastating" findings against Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in its final report which will be published at the end of the month, the Saturday Star reported in its early edition.

In many of the most publicised cases involving Madikizela-Mandela, the TRC has made a finding against her. The Saturday Star says the TRC made no finding in the case of the murder of Soweto medical practitioner Dr Abu-Baker Asvat, ho was shot dead in his surgery in 1989.

The TRC discounted a statement made last year by one of Asvat's killers that he murdered the popular doctor on the orders of Madikizela-Mandela.

Also, a document obtained by TRC investigators throws serious doubt on the theatrical version of the murder of activist Stompie Seipei given by Katiza Cebekhulu in a book published in Britain last year, the newspaper says.

Without naming individuals, the chapter on recommendations in the TRC's final report says those implicated in gross human rights violations who did not apply for amnesty should be prosecuted.

Madikizela-Mandela made no application for amnesty.

The implications of the TRC findings on Madikizela-Mandela, described by some associated with the TRC as "devastating", are that she participated in assaults, abduction, committed perjury, and was aware of several killings, the newspaper says.

A number of witnesses who were not available to the TRC last year, or who temporarily disappeared during the hearings into the Mandela United Football Club, have since made statements to TRC officials.

The TRC report has no legal standing.

It did not have to apply the same criteria as a criminal court, which would have to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The report is the result of a collective view based on a balance of probabilities.

The TRC itemised more than 20 different incidents in which Madikizela-Mandela was allegedly involved.

Madikizela-Mandela was served a Section 30 notice several weeks ago, informing her of the TRC's findings, and she was given an opportunity to reply. The TRC is not obliged to include her response in its final report if the commission decides they add nothing material to the findings.

Ishmael Semenya, representing Madikizela-Mandela, said on Friday: "Unless this is a misplaced display of divine wisdom, it is an oxymoron for any process which admits rumour, gossip, hearsay, sentiment to talk of a factual finding. One would have hoped the TRC would have helped posterity to learn from the folly of our past rather than to score passing political points.

"One would wait to see if any of the facts ever get judicial validation. If no such validation ensues, history will be the worst casualty."

South African Press Association, 1998
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