New investigation into Winnie Mandela
Past accusations ... Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with Joyce Seipei, mother of Stompie, at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997. Photo: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG: South African prosecutors say they have launched a fresh investigation into the disappearance in 1988 of two youths reportedly last seen with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela.
A special unit investigating missing persons said it had unearthed new information about the disappearance of Lolo Sono and Siboniso Shabalala, who went missing in November 1988.
The case is one of about 500 missing persons cases referred to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated apartheid-era crimes.
Influential ... Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the ANC conference on Monday. Photo: AP
"The investigations into this case are still ongoing and possible burial sites are still being examined on the basis of recently obtained information," Makhosini Nkosi, the spokesman for the unit in the National Prosecuting Authority, said in a statement.
"No exact burial sites have yet been confirmed or excavated," it said.
Lolo's mother testified to the commmision that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was present when she last saw her son.
Ms Madikizela-Mandela was accused of ordering four grisly murders of youth activists, including that of Stompie Sepei, in the 1980s when she surrounded herself with bands of young male thugs christened the "Mandela United Football Club".
That entourage was blamed for at least 18 deaths in Soweto during the violent end to the 1980s.
Ms Madikizela-Mandela, who attracted fame for her vocal anti-apartheid protests during the 27 years her husband spent in political detention, was sentenced to six years for the kidnapping of Stompie. The term was later scrapped on appeal and she was never jailed.
Mr Mandela stood by her when she was convicted of kidnapping Stompie. Their separation was announced in 1992.
In 1994 Mr Mandela appointed her deputy minister of arts and culture in his government, but later sacked her for insubordination.
She remains an MP and a member of the ruling African National Congress party's national executive committee.