Winnie cops acquitted

By Drum Digital
16 April 2013

Two policemen involved in an altercation with ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and her bodyguards were acquitted of all charges, trade union Solidarity said on Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Jannie Odendaal and Constable Abel Twala were found not guilty by the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court earlier in the day.

The charges against Odendaal and Twala were withdrawn twice, but had been reinstated.

"[Solidarity] welcomed the acquittal... and demanded that the disciplinary charges against them be dropped," spokesman Johan Kruger said in a statement.

The altercation happened in 2010 when Odendaal and Twala stopped Madikizela-Mandela's car because it was reportedly being driven recklessly at 150km/h.

An argument ensued. Madikizela-Mandela's bodyguards brought charges of pointing of a firearm and intimidation against the policemen. They were suspended with full benefits.

"We believe there was political interference in the case and that charges should never have been brought against the police members as they were merely doing their job," said Kruger.

"Solidarity will do everything in its power to ensure that the disciplinary charges against the two police members are dropped as well."

The union had asked for the charges brought against Madikizela-Mandela and her bodyguard to be re-investigated.

Madikizela-Mandela was charged with obstructing the course of justice. Her bodyguard and driver were charged with assault and reckless or negligent driving respectively.

The National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges against the bodyguard and driver in September 2011.

-by Sapa

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