Winnie Mandela, former first lady of South Africa who died on Monday, enjoyed personally inflicting torture on young innocent children until they died, according to her chief bodyguard.
Jerry Richardson, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s chief bodyguard in the late 1980’s and one of her closest confidants, says that Winnie used to beat, torture and kill children for personal pleasure.
Nytimes.com reports: ”My hands are full of blood today because I would be instructed to kill and I would do like I was told,” he told South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Mr. Richardson, 48, who is serving a life sentence for the killing of 14-year-old Stompie Seipei, described beating, torturing and killing people whenever ”mommy” (his name for Mrs. Mandela) asked him to do so. He was officially the coach of a soccer team she sponsored, the Mandela United Football Club. But the team rarely played, he said.
”She would say we would have to be attending funerals or torturing and disciplining people,” he explained.
Mr. Richardson told of using garden shears to kill Stompie Seipei in 1989 after beating him for days. He said Mrs. Mandela participated in the beatings, using her hands, fists and a whip. But she never did any of the killing, he said.
Mr. Richardson had long been rumored to be a police informer. And today he admitted this was true, a factor that could go a long way toward helping Mrs. Mandela when she presents her defense beginning on Thursday. President Nelson Mandela’s former wife is expected to portray herself as a victim of police dirty tricks. She has long denied the charges against her and requested the hearings to clear her name.
Indeed, in the last few days testimony from several witnesses seemed to indicate that her household was heavily infiltrated by the police.
Mr. Richardson said he became an informer in 1987. In the fall of 1988, he said, he arranged for two anti-apartheid guerrillas to be ambushed in his own home.
But Mr. Richardson said that he only beat and killed people under specific instructions from Mrs. Mandela. He said he had participated in four killings she ordered, saying that when he returned from one such killing, she embraced him and said ”My boy, my boy.”
The Truth Commission, which is charged with investigating apartheid-era atrocities, has been holding hearings on the role of Mrs. Mandela and her football club in 18 cases of murder or assault in the 1980’s. The commission does not have the power to prosecute, but it can submit its findings to the police.
Mrs. Mandela was convicted in 1991 of kidnapping and assaulting Stompie Seipei and was fined $3,200.
Stompie was kidnapped along with three other youngsters from a church mission as part of an elaborate plot to ruin a young white minister by getting the young men to say he had sexually abused them. All the boys were beaten until they agreed to make these accusations, but Stompie was beaten most severely because he was also suspected of being a police informer.
Later, Mr. Richardson said, he and Mrs. Mandela decided the boy was so badly beaten it was best to ”dump” him — that is kill him and dump his body where he could not be found.
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