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Ban on Winnie Mandela Lifted, Tutu Calls for Sanctions

April 2, 1986

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Black activist Winnie Mandela triumphantly returned home to the black township of Soweto today after her lawyers said the government ended 23 years of restrictions on her movements.

Meanwhile, Bishop Desmond Tutu openly called for punitive economic sanctions against South Africa for the first time, risking a charge of treason.

Ismail Ayob, Mrs. Mandela’s lawyer, said: ″The government is abandoning its attempts to uphold the banning order″ on Mrs. Mandela.

Banning orders are used by the government to suppress dissent by restricting the activities and contacts of prominent opponents of apartheid, the system under which 5 million whites dominate 24 million voteless blacks.

Mrs. Mandela, the wife of jailed anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, returned to her four-room home in Johannesburg’s black township of 1.5 million people in the afternoon, embraced by neighbors and surrounded by school children.

Asked how she felt to be home, Mrs. Mandela told reporters:

″It makes little difference, really, because I should never have been away from home in the first place. ... It was my right to be at home.″

Asked whether she saw the step as a concession by the government, she said: ″No one is grateful for a right that is rightfully ours.″

Ayob said Mrs. Mandela remained ″listed″ under the Internal Security Act, meaning that she still may not be publicly quoted in South Africa.

But he said the government’s decision not to uphold the order ″would have the effect of setting aside the banning order.″

Mrs. Mandela, the best known of a handful of anti-apartheid activists still under banning orders, and Ayob spoke to reporters at a hotel outside Johannesburg before she returned to Soweto.

There was no immediate comment from the government or Mrs. Mandela’s statements or on Tutu’s call for economic sanctions against the government.

Tutu, the black Anglican bishop of Johannesburg who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his anti-apartheid campaigning, told a news conference: ″I have no hope of real change from this government unless they are forced.″

″We face a catastrophe in this land and only the action of the international community by applying pressure can save us,″ he said.

Tutu declined to specify what types of sanctions he would like to see imposed, saying individual countries should decide for themselves. But he said sanctions should be ″concerted and united″ and imposed immediately.

Elsewhere, police headquarters in Pretoria reported several incidents of overnight violence.

In a township outside Port Elizabeth, a black policeman was injured when his home was hit with stones and gasoline-bombs, and blacks near the town of Mossel Bay stoned and set fire to a bus, injuring the driver, police said.

Most black students returned to classes today after Easter recess, heeding a weekend decision by a conference of parents, teachers and students.

But low attendance was reported in some areas, including the black townships around Cape Town and the tribal homeland of Lebowa in the north.

Piet Scheepers, a Department of Education official in Cape Town, described attendance at the area’s black high schools as very low, although he provided no specific figures.

The decision not to resume school boycotts, which involved up to 200,000 students before being halted last December, was made Sunday in Durban at a conference of 1,500 teachers, parents and students organized by the National Education Crisis Committee.

Organizers said the government had not met several of the demands made in December, such as removing troops from black townships and lifting a ban on a militant student group. But they said the return to school would be accompanied by a move to assert control of black students’ curriculum and to use the classrooms as a base for anti-apartheid campaigning.

Mrs. Mandela was banned for all but 18 months of the 23-year period from 1963.

For the last eight years, she was restricted to Brandfort, a small black township near Bloemfontein, in Orange Free State province.

Her visits to her husband, jailed for life in 1964 as leader of the outlawed African National Congress’s guerrilla wing, were limited.

Mrs. Mandela, 50, was among the last half-dozen activists remaining under banning orders.

Scores of such orders were lifted in July 1983, under pressure from Western countries.

Courts overturned five banning orders late last month, following a precedent-setting Supreme Court ruling that the orders were invalid because the government had failed to disclose publicly its reasons for imposing them.