|South African youth at the 17th WFYS in Tshwane|
From The Globe and Mail
More than 20 years after Nelson Mandela's release from prison, Ottawa says it has taken steps to loosen restrictions that prevent members of South Africa's governing party from visiting Canada and might finally lift an entry ban altogether.
For two decades, Canada has banned members of the African National Congress, the anti-apartheid movement that Mr. Mandela led. They have usually been obliged to seek a special exemption from the ban if they want to visit Canada.
The Canadian ban applies to any member of an organization that has advocated violence as a political tactic, or engaged in criminal activities. The ANC did both - although it was the apartheid regime that defined the party's actions as "criminal."
Among the prominent anti-apartheid veterans who have been affected by the Canadian ban are former parliamentarian Ahmed Kathrada and former cabinet minister Barbara Hogan, both of whom were political prisoners in the apartheid era. When told that they would not be allowed in Canada without applying for special ministerial permits, which cost more than twice as much as a regular visa, they cancelled their planned visit to Canada.
The United States has a similar policy of requiring special waivers for ANC members who want visas, and it kept Mr. Mandela on a terrorist watch list until 2008.