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THE WEEK AHEAD

JOHANNESBURG : S. African Prisoner Release?

May 29, 1990

With both President Frederik W. de Klerk and African National Congress deputy president Nelson Mandela back in South Africa after trips abroad, the ANC and the government are separately considering a still-secret report by their joint "working group" outlining proposals for identifying and freeing an estimated 3,500 political prisoners.

Freeing the prisoners is one of the ANC's primary preconditions for entering formal negotiations with the government for a new constitution, and sources from both sides say approval of the proposals is likely.

Still unresolved: the ANC's demand that Pretoria lift a nearly four-year-old state of emergency. The government is reluctant to comply, given unrest in the townships and right-wing white militancy.

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