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Statement concerning the filing of international legal claims for apartheid reparations

Posted on: June 29, 2002 10:28 AM
Related Categories: Southern Africa

by the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane,
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Jubilee South Africa must be commended for the tremendous energy with which it has pursued truth, justice and reconciliation in regard to the victims and beneficiaries of apartheid.

The public announcement of international legal claims filed for reparations from multinational banks and businesses that profited from apartheid comes after years of consistent but futile attempts to engage the relevant corporations and political leaders in a public dialogue about the matter of reparations for apartheid's victims.

Particularly, we travelled to Switzerland in May 2000 to raise concern about this matter without any real results.

In the interests of justice and the common good, the banks and businesses should now sit down together with apartheid victim groups and other parties to discuss and resolve the matter of reparations, including debt cancellation and social programmes for post-apartheid reconstruction and development. In a spirit of transparency, they should open their books to public scrutiny so as to ascertain with certainty the extent of profiteering from apartheid. Similarly, relevant military archives should be opened for public assessment.

To this end, I give my full support to convening an international conference to address this very important issue for millions of people in Southern Africa.

Archbishop Ndungane is a patron of Jubilee South Africa.