Winnie Madikizela-Mandela tried to derail a complaint from a teenager accusing Nelson Mandela's grandson of rape, a spokesman for the alleged victim's family said Wednesday.
Madikizela-Mandela, the late Mandela's divorced wife, sent her bodyguard to the 15-year-old girl's home, the spokesman said.
Days before Mbuso Mandela's arrest, the bodyguard appeared at the teenager's house posing as a police officer, the spokesman told the Associated Press. When the bodyguard began asking questions about the alleged rape, the girl's parents demanded he produce a police badge.
"We did ask him, 'If you are a policeman, show us your badge, show us your card,' and he didn't have that," said the spokesman, who refused to allow his name to be used by any of the media.
The bodyguard then revealed that he was there on behalf of Madikizela-Mandela, who invited them to her Soweto home last Thursday to discuss the matter. Madikizela-Mandela, still a politically powerful woman in South Africa, promised to ask the provincial police commissioner to handle the case and said her family would also hold a press conference, the spokesman said.
The family reported the rape when they did not hear from Madikizela-Mandela again.
Madikizela-Mandela's office has not responded to questions.
The rape allegedly took place at a popular restaurant in Greenside, a Johannesburg suburb, on Aug. 7, said police spokeswoman Brig. Mashadi Selepe. The matter was reported to police a week later and Mbuso Mandela was arrested last Saturday, she said.
Mbuso Mandela, 24, is in custody and is to appear at a bail hearing on Friday, Selepe said. He appeared briefly in court Monday when he was charged with rape.
The accused has been charged with a schedule six offence, where the onus is on him to give detailed reasons why he should be released on bail.
However, if the accused claims the sex was consensual, he is also likely to be prosecuted on an alternative count of statutory rape.
In terms of the Sexual Offence Act, sex with a child under the age of 16 is a criminal act.