A South African spy is released from jail

Friday, 2 November 1990
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Odile Harrington, a South African convicted and imprisoned for espionage in Zimbabwe in 1987, was released and returned to South Africa. On her arrival, she was greeted by President F.W. de Klerk. The release apparently came after a formal request by the African National Congress (ANC) and appeared to confirm speculation that South African agents imprisoned in the neighbouring countries, including Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, were to be involved in the amnesty and repatriation process then being negotiated by the ANC and the South African government.

The report on the working group of the ANC and the government on indemnity for exiles and the release of political prisoners was published a day before her release. Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee announced that the release of Harrington was the beginning of the implementation of such an agreement. However, he warned that the fast tracking of implementation depended on the ANC's willingness and promise to suspend its armed struggle and related activities of sabotage. Coetsee also stated that 600 prisoners might apply for release, whereas the ANC maintained that the number was more than 3 000.



Fraser, R. (1990). Keesing's Records of World Events: Longman: London, p. 37843.