A lawyer for three teenagers said Monday his clients have told him Winnie Mandela was "involved in the events" when they were abducted from a church home and beaten by her unofficial bodyguards.
The statement by prominent anti-apartheid lawyer Geoff Budlender came one day after a newspaper reported that Mrs. Mandela, the wife of jailed African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, took part in the alleged beatings.Mrs. Mandela, 54, has denied the accusations contained in the Sunday Star, a Johannesburg newspaper that opposes apartheid. She has implied they were fabricated to hurt her husband.
Later Monday, an attorney who had been acting for Mrs. Mandela, Krish Naidoo, announced that he had resigned as her representative. He did not give a reason when reached by telephone by The Associated Press.
Howevever, The Star quoted him Monday as saying "I felt it was not within the scope of my work to deal with the Mandela crisis."
The three boys, who are considering legal action, gave Budlender statements about what happened to them but have not authorized him to release details, he told the AP.
The boys were released from Mrs. Mandela's home after intervention by community leaders. But a fourth boy, 14-year-old Stompie Seipei, has been missing since Jan. 1, and his body was reportedly found last week.
Budlender said his clients "say they were abducted . . . and they were all assaulted on the first night. They say she (Mrs. Mandela) was involved in the events on the first night. They say Stompie was removed from them a day or two afterward and they never saw him again."
Mrs. Mandela has denied that she was at her home when the bodyguards brought the boys there. She has said they were taken from the Methodist Church house to protect them from sexual abuse.