Winnie Mandela ordered to sell possessions to pay debt

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A South African magistrate has ordered Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to auction off scores of paintings, sculptures and a silver tea set to pay off her debts, according to a court document seen on Tuesday.

Household goods belonging to the once revered anti-apartheid campaigner and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, will go under the hammer next Tuesday to cover fees she owes to an upmarket Johannesburg private school, according to the order released by a Soweto sheriff.

A dining table set, 50 paintings, sculptures and a "room with books" are listed in the sale.

Madikizela-Mandela owes the school around 40,000 rand (S$5,410 ) in accommodation fees for a family member, the Sowetan newspaper reported.

She earns around 900,000 rand a year as a member of South Africa's parliament.

Mandela married Winnie five years before he was jailed for sabotage during his opposition to apartheid in 1963.

The pair separated shortly before he became the country's first black president after the end of minority rule in 1994.

Mandela married Graca Machel, widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel, in 1998.

Controversy has followed Madikizela-Mandela closely in recent years.

She was convicted a decade ago for using her position as the ruling African National Congress women's league leader to defraud a bank.

In March this year investigators said they were probing the "Mother of the Nation" for the murder of two men she accused of being apartheid spies in the 1980s.