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Judge Bans Another Mbeki Rally

December 10, 1987

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ For the second time in two weeks authorities have banned a rally honoring Govan Mbeki, a leader of the outlawed African National Congress who was freed Nov. 6 after 23 years in prison.

W.P. Theron, chief magistrate of Wynberg, issued the ruling late Tuesday after police submitted an affidavit saying the rally planned for Sunday could cause ″serious threats to public peace.″

The Mbeki Reception Committee, which organized the event, said 50,000 people had been expected to crowd Athlone stadium in Cape Town, which seats 20,000.

Police estimated the gathering could attract 100,000. A statement by Brig. Eben Coetzee said the rally would ″further the aims of a violent and banned organization, the ANC. Public order will be seriously endangered by the proposed gathering.″

Mbeki is a former national chairman of the ANC, the main guerrilla group fighting white domination in South Africa.

He was scheduled to address a rally Nov. 28 in Port Elizabeth, but police withdrew their initial approval and banned the event 16 hours before it was to begin.

The United Democratic Front, South Africa’s largest anti-apartheid organization, said of the latest ruling: ″Although the government released Mr. Mbeki and promised that he would be allowed to participate in legal political activities, it now seems determined to silence him.″

By law and custom, apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which the 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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