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Statement by the NWC of the ANC on the trial by media of W. Mandela

8 April 1992

In the case against Winnie Mandela, the ANC firmly stated that it was essential for the law to take its course. A trial was held, and an appeal is still pending. This means that the time-honoured sub judice rule applies and should be upheld.

However, the National Working Committee of the ANC notes with grave concern the escalating trial by media. We would have thought that the media would have been informed by a sense of fairness and propriety, which would dissuade them from conducting such a "press trial". We urge the media to desist from such a campaign, as this can only undermine the judicial process.

We recognise that such a campaign is not only directed at an individual, but is part of creating an unfavourable image of the ANC and particularly its President, Nelson Mandela. Without questioning the integrity of the journalists concerned, and without detracting from the need for the media to report facts, it is clear to us that forces hostile to the ANC are continuously looking for ways and means by which to discredit, weaken and, if possible, destroy the ANC.

We appeal to the media not to lend itself to these mischievous purposes.

Issued by:
Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of the National Working Committee