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IN BRIEF: SA police denied indemnity

Pretoria - The South African government invalidated an amnesty offered to 3,500 policemen last year in the dying days of the apartheid regime, writes Hugh Pope. Most were attached to the security services; they included high-ranking officers, the former Justice Minister, Adriaan Vlok, and the former Defence Minister, Magnus Malan. Several had been named in reports linking them with a dirty war against the rising power of the ANC.

After a long and sometimes passionate government meeting in Pretoria yesterday, the Cabinet Secretary, Jakes Gerwel, said: "The Cabinet took the view that no indemnity from prosecution was acquired or granted in these cases." He said any of the police named could still pursue their applications for indemnity in the courts or through a special Truth and Reconciliation Commission due to be set up soon.