Winnie Mandela's lawyer tried to discredit a key witness in her kidnap and assault trial Friday, saying he concocted "dramatic un-truths" about being held captive in her home.

Chief defense lawyer George Bizos shot questions at Kenneth Kgase trying to shake his testimony and suggest the witness had a long history of fabricating stories.He pressed Kgase to explain why he did not resist when he was taken from a Methodist Church home to Mandela's house in December 1988. Kgase, 31, had testified he and three others were taken by bus without being told where they were going or why.

When Kgase said he did not ask questions because he was afraid, Bizos shot back, "Despite the fact no force was used and no force was threatened?"

"They were very, very unfriendly," Kgase said. "It just seemed to me (asking questions) was going to be a risky thing to do."

Bizos has tried to portray Kgase as a frustrated writer who concocted stories about Mandela, the wife of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, to make money and gain publicity.

He also suggested the witness at times tried to pass himself off as a black American by speaking with an American accent.

He questioned Kgase about his testimony that Winnie Mandela hummed and danced while beating him with a whip in December 1988 to make him confess to being a homosexual.

"Isn't it yet another one of those dramatic untruths you have weaved to discredit Mandela?" Bizos demanded.

Kgase denied the defense charges. Bizos repeatedly challenged him on allegations that there had been homosexual activity at the Methodist Church home, where Kgase lived in 1988, but the witness said he knew nothing about it.

Mandela and three co-defendants pleaded not guilty Feb. 11 to four counts of kidnapping and four counts of assault. They are accused of taking Kgase and three others from the church home and beating them in Mandela's Soweto home.

If convicted, they could receive sentences ranging from the death penalty to a suspended sentence.