Statement issued by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, concerning apartheid reparations from South African and foreign corporations Cape Town
It is time for the matter of apartheid reparation by South African and foreign corporations to be resolved through a process of dialogue rather than in court.
In the case of foreign corporations, victims of human rights violations under apartheid filed reparations lawsuits out of sheer frustration at not being taken seriously in their call for dialogue with the corporations. Similar lawsuits against South African corporations have emerged on the basis of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission finding that the corporations were significant beneficiaries of apartheid.
However, we must all recognise that legal complaints are simply formal mechanisms to lodge a grievance. These grievances can be taken up and resolved without costly and extended court proceedings.
I believe that it is possible, through a process of dialogue in South Africa, to settle the matter of reparation by South African corporations without it having to be decided by American courts. I therefore urge South African corporations to enter into dialogue with victims of apartheid human rights violations through their organisations and representatives to have this matter settled. Such a process will best serve the interests of healing the wounds of our apartheid past that continue to fester today.
Similarly, I am convinced that multinational banks and businesses that originate in other countries should equally approach the apartheid reparation claimant groups so as to discuss an appropriate resolution of this matter.
In the interests of truth, justice, and reconciliation, I express my willingness and commitment to work towards the resolution of the matter of apartheid reparations in the best possible manner, in the hope that the corporations and claimant groups will acknowledge the unique opportunity that now exists to overcome our past and respond appropriately.
Thursday 10 April 2003