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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

The Groote Schuur Minute 4 May 1990

The government and the African National Congress agree on a common commitment towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation from whatever quarter as well as a commitment to stability and to a peaceful process of negotiations. Flowing from this commitment, the following was agreed upon:

1. The establishment of a working group to make recommendations on a definition of political offences in the South African situation; to discuss, in this regard, time scales; and to advise on norms and mechanisms for dealing with the release of political prisoners and the granting of immunity in respect of political offences to those inside and outside South Africa. All persons who may be affected will be considered. The working group will bear in mind experiences in Namibia and elsewhere. The working group will aim to complete its work before 21st May 1990. It is understood that the South African government, in its discretion, may consider other political parties and movement and other relevant bodies. The proceedings of the working group will be confidential. In the meantime the following offences will receive attention immediately:

(a) The leaving of the country without a valid travel document.

(b) Any offences related merely to organisations which were previously prohibited.

2. In addition to the arrangements mentioned in paragraph 1, temporary immunity from prosecution of political offences committed before today, will be considered on an urgent basis for members of the National Executive Committee and selected other members of the ANC from outside the country, to enable them to return and help with the establishment and management of political activities, to assist in bringing violence to an end and to take part in peaceful political negotiations. The government undertakes to review existing security legislation to bring it into line with the new dynamic situation developing in South Africa in order to ensure normal and free political activities.

The government reiterates its commitment to work towards the lifting of the state of emergency. In this context, the ANC will exert itself to fulfil the objectives contained in the preamble. 5. Efficient channels of communication between the government and the ANC will be established in order to curb violence and intimidation from whatever quarter effectively.

The government and the ANC agree that the objectives contained in this minute should be achieved as early as possible.

CAPE TOWN, 4th May 1990

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