Government Denies Mrs. Mandela Ban Lifted With PM-South Africa, Bjt
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Government officials said today that restrictions on black activist Winnie Mandela were still in force and denied her lawyer’s claim of an agreement that effectively lifted the banning order.
″The government has not lifted the restriction order,″ said Col. Leon Mellet, spokesman for Law and Order Minister Louis le Grange.
Mrs. Mandela’s lawyer, Ismail Ayob, said Wednesday that State Attorney Pieter Kleynhans had agreed verbally to bandon the state’s case in Mrs. Mandela’s January appeal against the banning order, which are used to restrict prominent opponents of the white-controlled government.
Ayob said the agreement effectively ended restrictions that have barred Mrs. Mandela from legal participation in anti-apartheid politics for nearly 23 years, and banned her from living at her Soweto home.
But Kleynhans told The Associated Press he had given Ayob no such pledge, and said the case ″is definitely proceeding. ... I have not as yet been instructed to abandon the judgment or to waive anything.″
Ayob was not in his office, but his secretary said Ayob had told her he had nothing to add to his statement Wednesday.
Mrs. Mandela, wife of jailed black leader Nelson Mandela, returned to her home in Soweto on Wednesday, and was greeted by jubilant neighbors and family members who thought she was home legally for the first time in nine years.
Mrs. Mandela, first banned in 1963, was banished in 1977 to the small Orange Free State town of Brandfort.
In December, her banning order was revised to let her live anywhere except Soweto. She was arrested twice for going there in defiance of the ban, and in January filed an appeal against a court ruling upholding the restriction order.
The banning order also prohibited Mrs. Mandela from attending or speaking at political meetings and from entering educational, union or printing offices.
Despite the government’s declarations that the ban was still in effect, the tone of official comments suggested the government would not enforce the ban until the review was completed.
Ayob said Kleynhans’ agreement followed a decision last month by the Supreme Court declaring a few detention orders invalid because the government had not stated reasons for them.
Two activists then successfully challenged their banning orders on the same grounds, and le Grange informed three others who filed similar cases that their bans were no longer valid because of the order.
Mellet said no decision had been taken on Mrs. Mandela’s ban or on two others still in effect. He said he did not know how long le Grange’s review would take.