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South African hotels being allowed to further chip away at so-called ''petty'' apartheid (enforced racial segregation).

Pretoria has notified hoteliers it intends to open a category of hotels free of racial restrictions. The government also intends to permit small hotels to apply for ''international'' status, now reserved for larger ones. Large hotels can cater to all race groups, with certain restrictions: whites and blacks can't use the same swimming pool or dance floor.

Overall, the decision to open up to blacks will rest with the hotels - the government will not require them to do so.

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