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S. Africa Discloses It Detains 8,501; Gives Names for 1st Time

August 18, 1986|Associated Press

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The government told Parliament today 8,501 people were being detained under the nationwide state of emergency, the first time it acknowledged that detainees numbered in the thousands and the first time that it named them.

Since President Pieter W. Botha declared the state of emergency June 12, the government had refused to say how many people it arrested under the broad emergency powers, which allow indefinite incarceration.

At one point, the government said it had charged 780 of the detainees, but never acknowledged estimates by the political opposition and by private monitoring groups that thousands of people were in detention.

The government made it illegal to publish names of detained people unless the names were officially announced.

Parliament was not in session when the state of emergency took effect, but it opened an unusual second session today. Under the Public Safety Act, the minister of law and order, Louis le Grange, had to report to Parliament on detentions.

171 Pages of Names

The emergency was declared under terms of that act.

The names of the detainees filled 171 pages, but no addresses were listed, nor was there any hint of where the detainees were picked up or being held.

The Detainees Parents Support Committee estimated last week that 12,000 people had been detained, but said many had been released. Le Grange today reported only the number now in detention.

Earlier today, the government blamed the African National Congress for land-mine blasts Sunday that killed two babies and three other blacks, and said the guerrillas were "friends of the Ted Kennedys" and other apartheid foes.

'Indiscriminate Attacks'

"During the past two months, these dastardly and indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians of all population groups have caused the untimely deaths of nine people, of whom two were children," Deputy Information Minister Louis Nel told a news conference.

"The ANC, supported by the South African Communist Party, is responsible for these horrendous deeds of terror, and yet the ANC is not condemned by the outside world," Nel said.

"The succor and the tacit support given to the perpetrators of these murders, friends of the Ted Kennedys, (Bob) Hawkes and Bill Grays, again demonstrate the double standards applied to South Africa."

Sanction Supporters

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III, a black Democrat from Philadelphia, are strong supporters in Congress of economic sanctions against South Africa to protest apartheid.

Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and other Commonwealth leaders recently supported strict measures to force changes in the racial separation policy.

No one has claimed responsibility for two land-mine explosions Sunday on roads near Nelspruit, in northeastern Transvaal province. One blew up under a car carrying a group of blacks, killing three women and two infants, aged 10 months and 9 months.

The second land mine was detonated by a car driven by a white woman returning home from church, severely injuring her and her 9-year-old son, and slightly injuring her two other children.

Nel said, "The most glaring example of double standards by the Western world is on the one hand to try to eradicate terrorism worldwide and on the other hand aiding and abetting those who are responsible for blatantly brutal acts of terror in South Africa."

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