Sunday, August 10, 2003

Mandela's name comes off US terror list

South Africa's Sunday Independent reports that during George Bush's trip to Africa, he and some consular officials privately told Mandela and two other men, Tokyo Sexwale and Sidney Mufamadi, that they had been removed from the US's list of terrorists.

The paper says they got the information from an "official US source" ... but another source who also refused to be named, denied that Mandela et al were even listed as terrorists and wouldn't clarify what status they did have.

I can't remember if Mandela was ever on the list of terrorists ... but Maggie Thatcher did once call him a terrorist. And the US did once consider the ANC a terrorist organization.

The story quotes a US Embassy spokesperson in Pretoria as saying that nobody is ever really removed from the list ... they just "receive 10-year waivers from the department of immigration and nationalisation and the department of homeland security."

Apparently, government ministers on the terror list are given a special dispensation to travel to the US when they travel in their official capacity. However, were they to travel as private citizens ... they would be denied visas.

Tokyo Sexwale and Sidney Mufamadi were members of the guerilla group, Umkhonto we Sizwe, during the apartheid era. Sexwale is now chair of De Beers.