South Africa: Courting Trouble

Amid a tangle of politics, fear and intrigue, the prosecution finds it isn't so easy to bring Winnie Mandela to trial

First, four of the co-defendants jumped bail and disappeared. Then a key prosecution witness mysteriously vanished. Last week the two remaining witnesses to the crime refused to testify. Faced with the sudden flight of evidence, Rand Supreme Court Judge Michael Stegmann abruptly postponed until next month the start of South Africa's most explosive trial in recent years, to give the flustered prosecution time to repair its case.

The trial of Winnie Mandela was never destined to be a simple affair. It was surrounded by demonstrations and set in the context of delicate constitutional negotiations between the African National Congress and the...

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