JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The trial of Winnie Mandela teetered on the brink of collapse yesterday after two key witnesses refused to testify, saying they feared for their lives if they spoke against the wife of South Africa's top black leader.
Kenneth Kgase, 31, and Barend Mono, 21, told the court they were frightened by the recent abduction of a third witness, Gabriel Mekgwe, 22. The three have said previously that they were kidnapped from a Methodist mission house in December 1988 and brutally beaten by Mrs. Mandela and her bodyguards.
All had been scheduled to testify in the trial, but Mr. Mekgwe disappeared Sunday night, and Mr. Kgase said that as a result of the Mekgwe kidnapping, "I think my life is at stake. I am very, very scared."