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Week of 6 April 1999

"People's Poet" Mzwakhe Mbuli, former praise singer to president Mandela, was found guilty of armed robbery and possession of a hand-grenade last week. His anthology "Born free but still in chains" is currently selling well.

SA pop singer Brenda Fassie has been placed on the top twenty of the ANC's election party list. She said at the launch of the ANC election manifesto: "When I sang 'Black President' I knew that one day, after Madiba retired, I would do my part for my country." The newspaper Sowetan speculates that she may be earmarked for a junior cabinet post or premiership of a province.

The secretary to the speaker of Parliament commented to me last week on the composition of the next Parliament after the election: "I hope the ANC gets some comrades with degrees next time."

Robert McBride, suspended foreign affairs official and former ANC activist (Magoo's Bar bomber) was cleared of charges of gun-running by the Mozambican supreme court. He intends taking legal action against assistant SA police commissioner Suiker Britz and other police officials for their role in his six month incarceration, and also against SA newspapers for their "dishonest and malicious reporting".

William Mnisi, former deputy leader of the DP and now a member of the NNP, said of DP leader Tony Leon: "That little jew only cares about Israel and nothing else". The DP then called for the NNP to remove Mnisi from its list for 'racism'. The NNP in turn suggested the two resolve their differences over a cup of tea. The DP replied that Leon did not "drink tea with racists and jew-haters".

The Rev Daliwonga Mandela, who left the ANC for the NNP recently and who claims to be the president's nephew, is being detained for questioning by the fraud unit of the Port Elizabeth police. It appears he passed himself of as a Russian going by the name of Mikhail Antonov Oveseyenko while living in King Williams Town for many years. His membership of the NNP has been suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation. The Department of Home Affairs says his ID document bearing the Mandela name is authentic.

Ms Winnie Madikizela Mandela has summonsed her ex-husband, president Nelson Mandela, over a dispute of ownership of their house in Vilakazi Street, Orlando-West. Mandela and his first wife, Evelyn, first moved into the house in 1946. The house was set on fire in 1988 by enraged youths who said Madikezela-Mandela's soccor club was "terrorizing" the community.

More than 30 000 registered voters have had to be removed from the voter's roll owing to their death since the registration process began, the IEC reports.

Glen Kahn, leader of the "Americans"/ "28" / "Cisko Yakkies" (depending in which newspaper you read) gang and key member of the drug cartel "The Firm", was killed in a drive-by shooting on the Cape Flats on Sunday. It was the third attempt on his life. His death follows the attack on Rashied Staggie, leader of rival gang "Hard Livings" last week. Kahn blamed previous attempts on his life on Pagad.

Phoenix serial killer Sipho Thwala was sentenced to 506 years in prison after being convicted on 16 murder counts, one of attempted murder, three of rape and seven of indecent assault. He was acquitted on a further seven counts of rape due to lack of evidence.

Minister of Safety and Security Sydney Mufamadi was pulled over twice over the weekend by traffic police for alleged reckless driving, but allowed to proceed when he explained the importance of the meeting he was aiming to attend. The road accident death toll over the weekend was 170.

Cheers, folks, more on Friday.

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©Jean Redpath 1999