Winnie Mandela, wife of imprisoned black nationalist leader Nelson Mandela, left her Soweto home again today amid confusion about whether restrictions imposed on her by the white-minority government have been withdrawn.

Mandela returned Wednesday to her home in the black ghetto outside Johannesburg, which she had been prohibited from entering. Her lawyer announced that the government had withdrawn the order because of an Appeal Court judgment declaring similar restrictions invalid.

Government lawyers denied, however, that the restrictions had been lifted, saying they were still under review by Minister of Law and Order Louis le Grange.

A spokesman in Le Grange's Cape Town office said the minister probably would not contest an appeal by Mandela to have the prohibition declared invalid, but added that le Grange had not yet made a final decision and that in the meantime the restriction order was still in force.

Mandela's lawyer, Ismael Ayob, advised her to leave her home until the situation had been clarified. She moved into a hotel in a white area just outside the city limits.

Observers believe the administration may be stalling on the withdrawal of Mandela's restriction order while it seeks a new way of silencing her.