-USA takes Mandela off Terrorist List Temporarily 2003-08-10Posted by clype in Intolerance.
The bad news is that the removal is only for the next 10 years.
George Bush Jr, the USA's president, and consular officials privately informed the three men during Bush Jr's recent visit to South Africa, according to an official USA source.
The USA State Department is reviewing the status of hundreds of listed South Africans.
Some were listed for having convictions against them for terrorism, sabotage, treason or related offences against the apartheid state. Others were members of the guerrilla army, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
In all instances, if they apply as government ministers, they receive special dispensation to travel to the USA, but if they apply as private citizens, their visas are rejected, particularly since the USA has tightened visa applications in its "War Against Terror".
One USA embassy official, who preferred to remain anonymous, denied that Mandela, Sexwale and Mufamadi were listed as terrorists, but refused to clarify what they were listed as. Virginia Farris, the public affairs spokesperson for the USA Embassy in Pretoria, SA, said people were not
'"De-listed" as such, they receive 10-year waivers from the "Department of Immigration and Nationalisation" and the "Department of Homeland Security"'.
Farris said these regulations applied to everyone and that there would be:
'Quite a number of leaders of countries around the world on the list'.
'To make an exception for those who struggled against apartheid would require congress to change the law, and that would be a very lengthy process', Farris said.
She advised that those who had convictions against them for anti-apartheid activism apply 'at least several weeks ahead of travelling to the USA for a "Department of Justice waiver". It could take months'.
Another USA embassy source said the state department was reviewing its list of 'undesirable' South Africans,
'but this could take a long time. The 10-year-only limitation is embarrassing in these instances, but that is the way legislation is presently constructed'.
The removal of the three ANC stalwarts from the list appears to have been a pre-emptive move to avert a potentially damaging court case threatened by Sexwale, a Johannesburg businessman and former Umkhonto we Sizwe commander.
USA sources said Condoleezza Rice, Bush Jr's "National Security Adviser", personally intervened about six months ago, asking Sexwale to hold fire on legal action after his USA lawyers served papers on the USA State Department.
Sexwale brought the action after he was refused a visa to visit the USA late last year. This was despite the fact that he had visited the USA, without hindrance, as Gauteng premier several years ago.
Sexwale has extensive business connections with USA companies and chairs the world's second-biggest (after De Beers) diamond company, Mvelaphanda Diamonds, among other business interests ranging from oil to wine.
Mufamadi, as a cabinet minister, would not be refused a visa, but were he to apply as a private citizen, he would be. Sexwale and Mufamadi, also a senior member in Umkhonto we Sizwe, had convictions against them by the apartheid government. Sexwale killed a policeman and Mufamadi kidnapped a police officer. Mandela was convicted of sabotage.
Mandela has never been refused a visa. Late last year  Mandela, who has frequently visited the USA at the invitation of its government and others, received the USA's highest civilian decoration, the "Medal of Freedom".
The former Gauteng premier was "not prepared to comment", and Mandela and Mufamadi were not "available for comment". However, a USA source said the three had appeared pleased by the news. A USA embassy source said the state department was reviewing its list of 'undesirable' South Africans,
'But this could take a long time. The 10-year-only limitation is embarrassing in these instances, but that is the way legislation is presently constructed'. said the Foreign Service.
- USA Policy on South Africa
- "A Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela", Nelson Mandela (available at Amazon).
- "Nelson Mandela and the Rise of the ANC", Schadeberg, (available at Amazon).