RETURN OF SPY TO SOUTH AFRICA.
Zimbabwe releases S African spy.
Mr Kasrils recently signed a co-operation agreement with Zimbabwe. South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils has returned from Zimbabwe with a South African spy after securing his release. The man, Aubrey Welken, was arrested a year ago and accused of spying on senior members of the governing party for the South African government. Both men arrived in Johannesburg on a chartered plane from Harare. "I did it because of operational needs - I had a job to do," Mr Welken said.
Shortly after Mr Welken's arrest, six members of the governing party, Zanu-PF, were accused of spying on behalf of the South African government. Five were arrested - three received jail sentences, one is awaiting trial and one was acquitted. The sixth is reported to have evaded capture.
Mr Kasrils described the release as a "test of the maturity in the relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe". Mr Welken was arrested in the western Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls in December last year, after being lured into a trap by agents of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation.
Observers say the spy scandal was an attempt by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to keep a close watch over the internal workings of Zanu-PF, and to influence its future direction.
Last month, South Africa and Zimbabwe signed an accord on co-operation in the area of intelligence.