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Sunday, 14 December, 1997, 15:55 GMT
Mandela says P.W. Botha not above the law

The president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, has said he has done all he can to persuade former President P W Botha to attend the Truth Commission on post-apartheid reconciliation.

Mr Botha faces a fine or jail if he continues refusing to go.

Mr Mandela said he had also asked Mr Botha's family to help prevent the former president's humiliation; but ultimately Mr Botha was not above the law.

Mr Mandela was speaking in a television interview to a panel of journalists including the BBC Southern Africa Correspondent.

Mr Mandela, who steps down on Saturday as head of the African National Congress, also endorsed Thabo Mbeki as his successor.

He also said the ANC, and the rival Inkatha Freedom Party of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, had much in common and he would welcome a merger.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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