Former Safety and Security Minister Sydney Mufamadi on Monday denied that he had reopened a criminal investigation into the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, as alleged in the 2017 documentary Winnie.
As Madikizela-Mandela was laid to rest this weekend, public anger continued to rise on allegations that Madikizela-Mandela was vilified by an apartheid-spy infiltrated media and sold out by her comrades in the liberation movement. Mufamadi was addressing allegations made in the Winnie documentary that he is the one who ordered the reinvestigation of 14-year-old activist Moeketsi “Stompie” Seipei’s murder as a means to smear Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s name and image.
But Mufamadi said it was former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon who made Commissioner George Fivaz reopen the investigation into Madikizela-Mandela’s alleged involvement in the murder of Stompie Seipei.
“When we went into government, Tony Leon goes to see the commissioner, and caused the commissioner to reopen the investigation,” Mufamadi said at a media brief on Monday morning.
In the documentary on the struggle stalwart’s life, Henk Heslinga, who is the former police head of the police’s Soweto murder and robbery squad, alleges that he was taken to meet Mufamadi in 1994. He claims Mufamadi ordered him to re-start investigations into Madikizela-Mandela in an effort to have her tried for murder.
Mufamadi said that when he saw Heslinga’s interview in the documentary, he wondered: “What in God’s world is happening, how can this man lie with such a straight face?”
The documentary also claims that Mufamadi pressured the first police chief in the new democracy, George Fivaz, to reopen the case.
Kidnapping and murder charges were brought against Mam’ Winnie in 1995 despite the Mandela Football Club coach and police informer, Jerry Richardson, already serving jail time for Seipei’s murder.
In a recent interview, Fivaz said the investigations conducted in 1996 did not uncover any evidence linking Madikizela-Mandela to the kidnapping and killing of Stompie.
“There was not a single piece of information that fingered Winnie to say she was responsible, maybe personally responsible, for the murder that she gave instructions for Stompie to be eliminated,” Fivaz said.
The documentary caused a public outcry after it looked into how a propaganda operation by covert unit StratCom (Strategic Communications) was used to discredit Madikizela-Mandela. The plan was allegedly created by the apartheid government, and involved journalists and even some members of the ANC during the apartheid era.
Mufamadi said he was only trying to clear his name now because he “chose to observe the period of mourning for Winnie Mandela” as it would have been “wrong” for him to “stampede her legacy, which is our shared legacy”.
He also said he received a call from the EFF commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, last night where Malema told him that when he addresses the claims in the documentary during his briefing, he should do it in such a way that it doesn’t cause more fighting.
Mufamadi denied all allegations holding him responsible for reopening the investigation into Madikizela-Mandela and the kidnapping and murder case and says he did not receive the opportunity to give his right of reply in the documentary, unlike Henk Heslinga who lends his voice to the film.
After the media brief, director of the Winnie documentary Pascale Lamche said she should have contacted Mufamadi for his side of the story but blamed her oversight on a lack of funds. Lamche also allegedly apologised to Mufamadi.
Mufamadi ended the brief by saying: “I still maintain that those of us who fought for the liberation of this country alongside Comrade Winnie are the authorities of what happened.
“We must not be misled by people who were opposed to our freedom, into thinking that we must act according to what they tell us about us. That is really the message I wanted to convey to the people of South Africa.”