S. Africa Frees Dozen Labor Leaders Held in Detention
The government released at least a dozen labor leaders detained without charge under the 2-week-old nationwide state of emergency, union spokesmen said today.
The releases came as the white-dominated government told the nation there would be no quick end to the state of emergency.
The government gave no reason for freeing the union officials, including the head of one of the country’s largest trade federations. However, dozens more labor leaders were among an estimated 1,800 emergency detainees still held, according to unofficial reports.
The releases followed warnings from union leaders in hiding and from strike-hit business executives that industrial relations were being undermined by the state crackdown.
Camay Among Released
Released union leaders included Phiroshaw Camay, head of the 180,000-member Council of Unions of South Africa--an all-black federation which is the country’s third largest.
“We were kept in solitary confinement and not interrogated at any stage,” said Dale Tifflin, the union’s press officer. “We still have 20 of our people in detention. . . . We don’t think mass detentions will solve anything.”
Also released were eight national and regional leaders of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said Marcel Golding, spokesman for the black National Union of Mineworkers, an affiliate of the labor congress.
“We can’t make head or tail of what (the government’s) strategy is,” Golding said, adding that at least 65 national and local officeholders from the labor congress remained in detention.
The state Information Bureau reported five blacks killed in violence during a 24-hour period that ended early today--including two shot by police firing at rioters and three slain by other blacks--raising to 66 the number of fatalities reported since the state of emergency was declared June 12.
The government also said a truck detonated a land mine on a gravel road near Pretoria this morning. The black driver escaped injury.
State radio broadcast a speech by Law and Order Minister Louis le Grange today in which he said the government was “determined to apply the state of emergency and all its regulations relentlessly.”
He said the emergency would not be lifted soon and must remain in force until the public administration had returned to normal and law and order had been restored.