On 15 October, 1989, Walter Sisulu, and seven other political prisoners were freed from prison.

Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee and other government officials informed Nelson Mandela of the decision prior to its announcement by  President De Klerk.

The other released prisoners included Andrew Mlengeni, 63, Elias Mostsoaledi, 65, Ahmed Kathrada, 60, and Raymond Mhlaba, 68,  Wilton Mkwayi, 67,  Oscar Mpetha, 80, and Jafta Masemola, a member of the PAC.

In a speech to the conference of the Transvaal National Party on 21 October, 1989, President De Klerk made the following comments regarding the release of high-level prisoners:

“The release of the security prisoners receives regular attention.  In each case the test applied centres on careful consideration of  all the relevant circumstances. This includes the question whether the release will pose a threat to law and order and, preferably, whether it can make a contribution towards peaceful solutions. This was also the test that was applied in the case of the eight prisoners who were recently released – and this was the test clearly laid down by my predecessor some time ago.”