Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mandela Offers Amnesty as Key to Reconciliation Series: FORGING A NEW SOUTH AFRICA

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mandela Offers Amnesty as Key to Reconciliation Series: FORGING A NEW SOUTH AFRICA

Article excerpt

AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) President Nelson Mandela, due to be sworn in as South Africa's first black leader on May 10, has set national reconciliation and nation-building as the priority themes of the incoming coalition government.

In a bold effort to heal the wounds of the past, Mr. Mandela has ruled out Nuremburg-style trials for those who committed crimes in defense of apartheid and has approved an amnesty deal based on secret disclosure of offenses committed prior to December 1993.

In a series of interviews with newspapers and state-run television over the weekend, Mandela stressed the need to retain the confidence of the white minority and international investors to help build a new nation.

He also affirmed the importance of the security forces and the civil service in the national unity government and said that the amnesty deal should help create stability and win the confidence of civil servants.

The ANC wants to set up a commission along the lines of the truth commission in Chile, he said, but it does not intend to punish people for past political crimes. All Mandela was asking of those who committed crimes in the name of apartheid, he says, was what has been required of anti-apartheid members who have returned to the country since October 1990.

Mandela said those who had committed crimes before that date would be granted amnesty on disclosure of their offenses. Amnesty for crimes committed between 1990 and December 1993 would be dealt with by the new parliament, he added. (Diplomats say that a deal has already been struck and will be announced within the next six weeks.) Those who committed crimes after December 1993 would be subject to the law.

Mandela has stressed the importance of the ANC's reconstruction and development program - a detailed program for socioeconomic development to eradicate the legacy of the apartheid years - in promoting reconciliation.

He has also emphasized his interest in seeing that whites continue to have a stake in the country and government.

The ANC leader told the Sunday Times of Johannesburg, the country's major weekly newspaper, that he would recommend that the present governor of the country's central bank stay on. …

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