Liberal delegation can’t see Mandela

A fact-finding delegation of Liberal International Parliamentarians has asked permission for a second time to visit imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela.

The first request was turned down by Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee, Gijs de Vries, Liberal Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands said yesterday. It is understood the delegation put its demand for Mandela’s release to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pik Botha.

He is reported to have told them that an unconditional release of Mandela now would cause such an explosive situation that the National Party Government would not survive. The delegation asked both Pik Botha and the Minister of Home Affairs, Stoffel Botha, once again if they could see Mandela and they are waiting for a response.

In the meantime, the group of Liberals has called for Mandela’s release which, they say, is urgently needed as a gesture so that talks between the Government and genuine leaders can take place, working towards a commitment to sharing power.

Members of the delegation are De Vries, Hadar Cars, former Minister of Trade and chairman of the International Committee Folkpartiet in Sweden, Aideen Nicholson, MP of the Liberal Party of Canada and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Rex Collings, chairman of the Africa Committee and Liberal Party Foreign Affairs panel member in the UK and Margaret Burnet the Director of the Liberal International.

They are in South Africa for a brief stay at the invitation of the PFP, who are associate members of the Liberal International.

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Pat Sidley
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