The announcement that the nationwide state of emergency would be lifted brought divided reaction from the leadership of the African National Congress but a decisive welcome from Western leaders.
The positive response Thursday from the White House and the British Foreign Office prompted Foreign Minister Roelof "Pik" Botha to suggest the West ought to review its economic sanctions against the country.ANC Deputy President Nelson Mandela, speaking in Paris, expressed joy at President Frederik de Klerk's move, calling it "a victory for all the South African people, white as well as black," while also regretting the measures would be remain in strife-torn Natal province. Mandela later became ill and canceled a speaking engagement.
A somber ANC publicity secretary, Ahmed Kathrada, told a news conference the 71-year-old Mandela has been "overgenerous" in his praise of the president's apartheid reforms.
Walter Sisulu, leader of the ANC internal wing who spent 26 years in prison before being freed by de Klerk last year, described the president's announcement as one of his "half measures," and insisted the nearly 4-year-old emergency also be withdrawn from Natal.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the moderate politician whose Natal-based Inkatha movement has battled ANC supporters in the province at a cost of 3,000 lives over the past three years, described as "lamentably tragic" the emergency's partial reimposition but welcomed the overall measure.