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Nelson Mandela Is Angry At Botha, Says Wife After Visit

October 15, 1988

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Winnie Mandela visited her husband, black nationalist Nelson Mandela, at his guarded hospital room Saturday and said he was angered by President P.W. Botha’s claim that he is cooperating with the government.

She also said speculation about his imminent release were ″sheer rumors.″

Botha suggested last week that the jailed African National Congress leader could be freed soon if he ″continues cooperating with the authorities, as he is doing at present.″ Botha did not elaborate.

″About the so-called cooperation with the government, Mandela says he will answer to that himself,″ Mrs. Mandela told reporters. ″As he said that, he looked very angry.″

Mandela, 70, is recuperating from tuberculosis at the Constantiaberg Clinic, a modern private hospital in Cape Town. He became ill in August, and doctors expect him to make a complete recovery in about three months.

Mrs. Mandela said she and her husband did not discuss the latest wave of speculation that he may soon be freed after 26 years in prison.

″All the rumors about his release are sheer rumors,″ she said.

In addition to his wife, Mandela was visited for more than an hour by his daughter, Zindzi, and her two children, and by his sister, Leaby Piliso. It was the Mandelas’ first reunion since August.

Mrs. Mandela said her husband ″looks very well, much better than when I last saw him.″

Botha, although refusing to be specific, has said in recent weeks that he hopes Mandela will not have to return to Pollsmoor Prison from the hospital. Government officials have indicated Mandela might be freed without having to comply with Botha’s longstanding demand that he renounce violence.

Mandela has been jailed since 1962. He received a life sentence in 1964 for plotting an ANC sabotage campaign aimed at toppling the white-minority government.

President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire said after meeting with Botha on Oct. 1 that the South African president had promised to release Mandela unconditionally.

Botha refused to confirm this, but a pro-government newspaper, The Citizen, later quoted officials as saying Mandela could be released at any time starting in mid-November.

Mandela is the most popular leader among South Africa’s disenfranchised black majority. Government officials worry that his release could provoke a new outbreak of black militancy and unrest, but they also perceive that freeing Mandela could ease international pressure on South Africa.

In other developments:

-An explosion early Saturday outside a police barracks in Kathlehong, a black township near Johannesburg, caused damage but no injuries. Police have blamed the ANC for most of the roughly 80 bombings in South Africa this year.

-Govan Mbeki, an ANC leader freed last year after 23 years in prison, lost a court bid Friday to overturn restrictions placed on him after his release. The 78-year-old activist, a co-defendant of Mandela’s, had challenged the validity of the emergency regulations under which his restrictions were imposed.

Under apartheid, South Africa’s 26 million blacks have no vote in national affairs. The 5 million whites control the economy and maintain separate districts, schools and health services.

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