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S. African Parliament Finds Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Violation of Code of Conduct - 2002-08-22

A South African parliamentary committee has found controversial politician Winnie Madikizela-Mandela guilty of violating parliament's code of conduct. Parliament's ethics committee says Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela could now also face contempt of parliament as well as perjury charges.

The committee says Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is guilty of failing to disclose donations she received to supplement her salary as a member of parliament as well as her financial interests in the Winnie Mandela Family Museum in Soweto.

The committee recommended that the South Africa parliament severely reprimand Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela and also fine her 15 days pay. She is the first member of South Africa's parliament to be censured in this way since 1994.

The charges in parliament arose as a result of an affidavit submitted to a criminal court where Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela is on trial on 85 counts of fraud.

In her statement, Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela told the court she was not able to live on her monthly income of $1,700 and that as a result, friends supplemented her income by another $5,000 a month. She said she also received an income from the family museum.

Parliament's code of conduct says all South African lawmakers must, each year, disclose all assets as well as any income received over their pay as legislators.

Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela ignored repeated requests and formal notices to attend meetings of the ethics committee, which heard her case. As a result, the committee says it will ask parliament to investigate whether she is also guilty of contempt of parliament.

In a letter to parliament last February, she denied she received additional income and blamed her lawyer and the media for what she called "inaccuracies" in the documents presented at the fraud trial.

However, the ethics committee said the original court affidavit apparently was written in her handwriting. And, the committee says it will ask parliament to decide if the matter should be reported to appropriate authorities to investigate whether Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela has perjured herself.

Mr. Madikizela-Mandela, once called South Africa's "mother of the nation" is the divorced wife of former President Nelson Mandela.