The U.S. government should apologize for detaining a former South African minister and “freedom fighter” after profiling him as a terrorist, the country’s governing African National Congress said.
Former Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale was briefly detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last week because he was on a watch list of terrorism suspects dating back to South Africa’s white-minority rule, state-owned South Africa Broadcasting Corp. reported today.
Sexwale is “a decorated freedom fighter, activist and leader of our liberation movement, not a terrorist,” the ANC said in an e-mailed statement today. The U.S. decision to “view members and leaders of the African National Congress as terrorists is an affront to the global anti-apartheid movement.”
Jack Hillmeyer, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, declined to comment in an e-mail today.
Nobel peace prize winner Nelson Mandela’s party was banned by the white minority government until 1990, prompting other countries including the U.S. to designate it as a terrorist organization. Mandela led the ANC to victory to become the country’s first black president in all-race elections that ended apartheid in 1994.
Mandela appointed Sexwale to serve as a director on two companies he set up. He served as a minister until July, when he lost his position in a cabinet re-organization.