NPA probing deaths linked to Winnie

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The NPA is planning to exhume what may be the bodies of two young men connected to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1987. File photo: Sizwe Ndingane.

Scottland - The National Prosecuting Authority is planning to exhume what may be the bodies of Siboniso Tshabalala and Lolo Sono, young men last seen at the home of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1987, a Scottish weekend paper has reported.

“Police have now confirmed they know where their bodies are buried” and the NPA had told their families the bodies would be exhumed next month, the Sunday Herald said.

“Family members have been DNA-tested to aid identification and for a forensic autopsy to establish new evidence,” it said.

The article was written by foreign correspondent and author Fred Bridgland, who said Sono’s mother, Dorothy, had told him on Friday that the families had to wait until next month.

During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, Katiza Cebekhulu, who had lived for a while on Madikizela-Mandela’s property in Soweto, testified to having seen the ANC veteran sjambokking Sono and later killing Stompie Seipei, a teenage activist. Madikizela-Mandela rejected the allegations as untrue. Sono’s father, Nicodemus Sono, who also testified at the TRC, said his son had not been seen again after the incident.

In 1991, Madikizela-Mandela was convicted of having been an accessory to Seipei’s kidnapping and assault. Two years later the assault conviction was overturned by the appeal court, but the kidnapping conviction was upheld.

Jerry Richardson, who was the coach of Madikizela-Mandela’s soccer group, the Mandela United Football Club, received a life term for Seipei’s murder. He died in jail in 2009.

Bridgland wrote that the revelations about the bodies of Sono and Tshabalala came at the end of his research for a book on the Stompie affair and other actions of the club.

He had also spoken to Sono’s stepmother, Caroline Sono, who told him: “I hoped for so many years that my son was still alive in some foreign country. Now I know he is dead. What we want is our minds put to rest.”

NPA spokesman Makhosini Nkosi confirmed that possible burial sites were being examined “on the basis of recently obtained information”, but denied that such sites had been confirmed or excavated, according to Monday’s Daily Dispatch.

“Should the remains of Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala be located and identified through DNA, these remains will be formally handed to the two families by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development at a later stage, in accordance with the recommendations of the TRC,” he said.

The Daily Dispatch also quoted Nkosi as saying DNA had been taken from the two families. – The Star


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