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ANC rejects arms inquiry testimony

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The ANC on Wednesday rejected a claim that ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was one of the “concerned MPs” who leaked information on the 1999 arms deal.

“With no fear of contradiction, the ANC disputes the allegations as lies being peddled against Comrade Winnie,” deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said in a statement.

She said the party was outraged by reports that anti arms-deal campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne had named the party’s NEC member as one of the ‘concerned MPs’ who leaked to him information about the arms deal.

The Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday that Madikizela-Mandela was one of the “concerned MPs” who leaked information on the 1999 arms deal.

“One of the prime names, in fact the leader, was Ms Winnie Mandela,” Crawford-Browne told the inquiry in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Duarte said Madikizela-Mandela had always raised issues she had with the party within the ANC.

“It is implausible therefore that she would ‘leak’ any information to Terry Crawford-Browne and act as a ‘concerned MP’ instead of the stalwart and leader of our organisation that we have always known her to be,” she said.

“He is attempting to bring credibility to his wild allegations by drawing into the fray leaders of our movement as he has nothing substantive to offer to the commission,” said Duarte.

Duarte said the ANC believed the allegations against Madikizela-Mandela were nothing but a “continuing trend to sow divisions within our organisation”.

On Tuesday, Patricia de Lille distanced herself from Crawford-Browne’s claim that Madikizela-Mandela leaked information to her.

“I would like to put it on record that I did not tell Terry Crawford-Browne that Winnie Madikizela was one of the concerned ANC MPs who handed me the documents,” De Lille said in a statement in her capacity as a former Member of Parliament.

“I am distancing myself from these statements made by Crawford-Browne.”

Crawford-Browne said information in the so-called “De Lille dossier” had been assembled by ANC intelligence operatives working with the party’s MPs.

Cape Town mayor De Lille testified at the inquiry this year and handed in her dossier as evidence.

The Seriti commission’s Thekiso Musi asked Crawford-Browne to clarify who had compiled the De Lille dossier — ANC operatives or MPs.

Crawford-Browne responded: “The operatives were working on behalf of the ANC MPs who were very suspicious in Parliament about the arms deal issue. They were feeling that it was a misallocation of resources given the circumstances in those days.” SAPA

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