[From our archives] Winnie leaked info on arms deal, says activist

ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was one of the “concerned MPs” who leaked information on the 1999 arms deal, the Seriti commission of inquiry heard on Tuesday.

“One of the prime names, in fact the leader, was Ms Winnie Mandela,” arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne told the inquiry in Pretoria.

He said information in the so-called De Lille dossier had been assembled by ANC intelligence operatives working with the party’s MPs. “In the months before the supply agreements were signed, ANC whistleblowers produced boxes of documentation to support allegations of corruption and fraud,” said Crawford-Browne. 

Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille testified at the inquiry this year and handed in her dossier as evidence. Co-commissioner Thekiso Musi asked Crawford-Browne to clarify who had compiled the De Lille dossier – ANC operatives or MPs.

Crawford-Browne responded: “The operatives were working on behalf of the ANC MPs who were very suspicious in Parliament about the arms deal issue. They were feeling that it was a misallocation of resources given the circumstances in those days.” 

Give names in public
Commission chairperson Judge Willie Seriti pressed Crawford-Browne to name the ANC officials. Crawford-Browne said the MPs had left Parliament “for one reason or the other”. 

He asked to hand the names to Seriti confidentially, but Seriti insisted Crawford-Browne mention the names publicly. “I want you to give the names in public,” said Seriti. Crawford-Browne then named Madikizela-Mandela. He said the documents were given to then judge Willem Heath in November 1999. 

“Judge Heath had informed Ms De Lille that his decision would be made by January 2000. Instead of waiting for his findings, the government and contractors now proceeded with undue haste as if to present South Africa with a fait accompli,” said Crawford-Browne. 

De Lille denies statement

Later on Tuesday,  de Lille released a statement saying: “I have noted the statement by Terry Crawford-Browne related to the so-called ‘De Lille Dossier’ and I would like to put it on record that I did not tell Terry Crawford-Browne that Winnie Madikizela was one of the concerned ANC MPs who handed me the documents. 

“I distance myself from these statements made by Terry Crawford-Browne.” – Sapa

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