Winnie Mandela, cop dispute traffic row

Feb. 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM
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TSHWANE, South Africa, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The South African trade union Solidarity says it will back a police officer in court against Winnie Mandela in their clash over a traffic stop.

Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Dirk Hermann said Warrant Officer Jannie Odendaal filed charges of pointing a firearm and intimidation against Mandela at Brooklyn Police Station in Tshwane Friday, NewsTime reported.

Odendaal's affidavit filed Thursday never mentions any weapons being brandished by Mandela, her driver or bodyguard.

The 74-year-old former wife of South African political scion Nelson Mandela, also is accused of obstructing justice, assault, and reckless and negligent driving.

Mandela's driver and bodyguard have filed their own complaints alleging the pointing of firearms and intimidation.

The complaints and counter complaints stem from an incident Dec. 30 when Odendaal and his partner stopped the car in which Mandela was traveling after it allegedly was seen weaving through traffic. The car also allegedly was traveling at 90 mph, 20 mph over the speed limit, the BBC reported.

Odendaal's official police report states Mandela's bodyguard exited the vehicle first and pushed the officer. .

"I'm a police officer dressed in full police uniform and this guy -- a normal civilian -- he assaults me," he said.

The report then states Mandela got out of her car and rushed to Odendaal saying, "Who the [expletive] do you think you are?"

After the officers ascertained the identities of the driver and bodyguard but before Odendaal concluded the stop, the car sped off, the report said, but Odendaal decided to leave the matter to superiors.

Mandela's office has not commented but the BBC said a close aide has expressed her anger about the affair.

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