Contrary to earlier reports, no body was discovered near the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Johannesburg home on Saturday where ex-uMkhonto We Sizwe combatants fired shots in the air the previous night, Police Minister Bheki Cele said.
In a media alert about a briefing outside Madikizela-Mandela’s home in Soweto, spokeswoman Nonkululeko Phokane said Cele would clarify to journalists after ”reports of a dead body which was discovered few streets away from the Mandela residence”. Cele said cartridges were discovered but there was no evidence of someone having died as a result of the shootings.
”I think the narrative was that police picked up cartridges, which is a proper procedure for investigation to find out what gun was used and who it belonged to… so we had to pick up those cartridges for investigation, not because someone was shot. No one was shot, no one was injured or died,” Cele told reporters.
Rumours that a body was discovered next to railway lines not far from the house were unfounded, he said. The governing African National Congress had decided to ban “firing of shots at funerals”, a tradition by some ex-MK combatants burying a fellow comrade.
”The decision was taken by the ANC that this kind of activities at funerals should stop. It is illegal to discharge a firearm where people are around, we are dealing with all that, I will be meeting with commander of former combatants regarding that.”
Following the shooting, the street entrance to Madikizela-Mandela’s house was barricaded by police early Saturday, limiting access to the gate.
Madikizela-Mandela was the former wife of late statesman Nelson Mandela. She died, aged 81, at Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital on April 2.
Thousands of people are expected to convene at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium for her funeral on April 14. The national memorial service will be held at the same venue on April 11. She will be buried at Fourways Memorial Park, north of Johannesburg.