South Africa 16.4.2018 10:29 am

Mufamadi names Tony Leon as man behind Winnie investigation request

The former police minister has slammed those who decided Pascale Lamche’s documentary was worthy of an award when it isn’t a fair reflection of the truth.

Sydney Mafumadi, the former minister of safety and security – now the ministry of police – held a press briefing this morning in Johannesburgh to respond to “five chilling revelations” made in the award-winning documentary Winnie, which aired on eNCA last week, but which was released far earlier worldwide.

Mafumadi said he decided to hold the briefing after struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had been laid to rest to observe the period of mourning for the Mother of the Nation.

“I chose to observe the period of mourning for Winnie Mandela because I thought it will be wrong for me to be tempted to stampede her legacy, which is our shared legacy,” he said.

Mafumadi questioned whether the body that gave the award to Winnie – produced by Pascale Lamche – considered journalism ethics because those accused in the documentary – including himself – had not been granted the right to respond. He dropped the bombshell that it was in fact the then Democratic Party (the DA’s predecessor) leader Tony Leon who was pushing for the Winnie investigation to be reopened.

“You don’t think they have a right to ensure that they put forward a version which may corroborate or compare and contrast what others are saying. This is a right I will promote and defend even if the victim is not myself,” he said.

He said before the documentary aired, he received a call from a representative of the company that bought the rights to air it on television asking him if he had any objections to it being broadcast and he said he did not as he would respond in a different way.

“I said I have absolutely no right to censor a documentary even though I was denied the right or I was presumed dead; there are other ways by which I would be able to communicate with the public,” Mafumadi said.

Mufamadi dismissed claims that he had ordered new investigations into the murder of Stompie Seipei, Mufamadi said Hank Hesslinger – the source of allegations in the interview and part of the team put together by former police commissioner George Fifaz when investigations were reopened to link Winnie to Stompie’s murder – would have known even at the time of the interview that as far as operational issues were concerned, deciding whether to open or close investigations was not the responsibility of the minister, but the function of national police commissioner.

Mufamadi said Hesslinger may have been describing what used to take place in the police before 1994, and that the police during his tenure ran ethical governance.

He questioned why the producer of the documentary had decided to use operatives of the apartheid era’s Stratcom propaganda machine to tell the story of Madikizela-Mandela, when her legacy could be better related by the ANC.

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21 April 2018 TURFFONTEIN

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