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S. Africa Government Ends Daily Reports on Unrest

May 21, 1987|From Reuters

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The government said today it is suspending daily reports on racial strife and will tighten media censorship under an 11-month-old state of emergency.

Police headquarters in Pretoria said daily bulletins on unrest, issued since riots erupted in late 1984, are no longer necessary as most current disturbances are minor.

It said reports will be issued only when serious incidents, resulting in casualties, occur. More than 2,500 people have died in politically motivated violence since 1984.

Deputy Information Minister Stoffel van der Merwe, whose government has expelled 10 foreign correspondents since emergency rule was imposed last June, also said Pretoria will tighten its censorship regulations.

Meanwhile today, a clinic established by black activist Winnie Mandela was gutted by fire, and police said arson was suspected.

Mandela, wife of jailed African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, was quoted by the Star newspaper of Johannesburg as saying the fire was set in retaliation for two car bombings Wednesday.

The government blamed the ANC for the two blasts, which killed three white policemen and injured 15 people outside a Johannesburg courthouse. The outlawed congress is the main guerrilla group fighting to end apartheid, South Africa's system of racial separation.

Police said the clinic "was apparently set alight by unknown persons."

The clinic is in Brandfort in the Orange Free State province, where Mrs. Mandela was banished from 1977 to 1985.

She returned to her home in Soweto, outside Johannesburg, in early 1986. Friends said she headed to Brandfort early today after learning about the fire that burned the clinic during the night.

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