/ 12 March 2010

Winnie denies Mandela remarks

ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has denied giving an interview to Nadira Naipaul that was published in the London Evening Standard.

“I did not give Ms Naipaul an interview. It is therefore not necessary for me to respond in any detail to the contents of a fabricated interview,” she said in a statement on Friday.

In the interview, she is quoted as saying, among other things, that Nelson Mandela agreed to a “bad deal” for blacks.

“I will in the coming days deal with what I see as an inexplicable attempt to undermine the unity of my family, the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the high regard with which the name Mandela is held here and across the globe,” she said.

In a statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, on behalf of Madikizela-Mandela, she said: “In response to the ‘alleged’ interview with Ms Nadira Naipaul, published initially in the London Evening Standard and then widely picked up by media across the world, I would like to state categorically: I did not give Ms Naipaul an interview.

Talks due
“I have already had the opportunity to speak to Bishop Tutu, who was also in Atlanta, USA where I addressed a meeting.

“I intend speaking with Madiba and [his wife] Graca [Machel], as I regularly do. I will also have to deal with the hurt caused to my children and grandchildren by the unwarranted and untrue statements about their private lives.”

Madikizela-Mandela said she appreciated the fact that the African National Congress decided to hear her side of the story first “before making any judgements”.

“I repeat that I did not give Ms Naipaul any interview. Any further questions about the content of that fictitious interview should be addressed to her.”

The alleged interview was published on the London Evening Standard‘s website on March 8 and was published in The Star newspaper on Tuesday, March 9.

Picked up
Several South African media publications used her comments in reports and Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille commented on the remarks in her weekly newsletter on Friday.

The ANC said it would not comment until it had spoken to Madikizela-Mandela, who was in the United States this week.

In the alleged interview, Naipaul described how bitter Madikizela-Mandela seemed and that she said Nelson Mandela had become a “corporate foundation” who was being “wheeled out to collect the money”.

Naipaul said the interview was conducted when she and her husband, writer VS Naipaul, visited Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto.

According to Naipaul, Madikizela-Mandela also called Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu a “cretin”.

She also said “this name Mandela is an albatross around the necks of my family” and that she could not forgive her former husband for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize with apartheid’s last president FW de Klerk. — Sapa