Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Clarion call on debt and reparations now

Clarion call to the people of South Africa on debt and reparations now, 16 April 2003

Today on the occasion of the final statement made by the President of South Africa on the matter of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Reparations, Jubilee South Africa and Khulumani Support Group wish to make the following call to the people of our country:

1. Our organisations comprise the mass movement of the people of our land who continue to bare brunt of the on going assault on our lives engineered and orchestrated by the system of racial capitalism, sometimes called apartheid. Our people live not with a mere legacy from the past; rather the past lives on in their daily lives in a multitude of ways. In this regard the question of the economic system set up by apartheid and the part played by debt in it is a fundamental problem contained in the process of the ongoing redistribution of wealth in our country from the poor to the rich.

2. We note with concern the gigantic retreat taken by our President today in his conclusion of the work of the TRC. We have no doubt hat the corporations in this country will find these provisions totally in ine with the economic system whose practice continues in the present. Our organisations will continue in the coming period to look for ways of reconstructing the given provisions in the interest of the poor. This applies to the 22 000 victims of crime who appeared before the TRC; many more others who are members of Khulumani; and millions of others who continue to bare the social chains set off by racial capitalism.

3. Our organisations note the position expressed by our President in relation to the civil suits currently before the courts in the USA. We will continue to debate these issues in a democratic spirit at all levels of social engagement in this country, certainly among ourselves, our labour unions, our youth formations, our women's organisations, our faith bodies, our social movements as well as the structures of national governance. We have no doubt that the justice of our belief in ensuring the advancement of corrective, political, social and judicial measures in reply to apartheid crimes will ultimately triumph.

4. Our current civil suits target foreign corporations. To the local corporations within the borders of our country we say; we would not prefer to deal with you in a court of law whether it be a foreign or a local court. Our preferences is to call on you to use this moment so the purpose of opening up a meaningful dialogue with our organisations in achieving the following outcomes:

  • Acknowledgement of guilt
  • Devising public processes of redress
  • Searching for a human rights driven process of investment
  • Reconstructing economic alternatives in South Africa whose aim is to invert the process of redistribution to make it flow from the rich to the poor
  • Constructing models of bringing immediate relief to the pressure of poverty on our people as the basis of ensuring a process of eradicating poverty

5. To this end Khulumani Support Group and Jubilee South Africa are convening a national conference at a date and venue to be announced soon in order to allow the ordinary citizens of our land concretely to prepare an alternative position on reparations based on the stand we have taken in relation to foreign corporations. That specifically applies to South African corporations. This conference will designate a national process driven by the hand of ordinary citizens that will deal with the members of the business world in South Africa. Further it will serve to construct a process for reconciliation that denies the power of the past in our present.

Finally, the conference will designate a process of social mobilisation and political intervention that will not exclude the taking of South African companies to court if they are unwilling to address our platform.

Citizens of South Africa! The entire debt of racial capitalism consists in the extra judicial crimes of the apartheid system.

It also consists in these crimes which carved up our labour life; their mining, industrial and commercial system; their ghettos called locations, townships, homelands; their farm labour policies; their banking and financial systems; their internal debt as of 1993; their crimes against the ecology; their collarboration with the apartheid regime in illegal actions! This is the internal component of odius debt!

To the extent that these matters remain outstanding in the real work done by the TRC, and as concluded today, these continue to constitute the living social deficits caused by racial capitalism. The hour has now struck for the voice and hand of the people to guide our thoughts and actions on the question of reparations!

Issued by the National Executive Committee of Jubilee South Africa
Issued by the National Executive Committee of Khulumani Support Group
MP Giyose - National Chairperson of Jubilee South Africa
Ike Tlholwe - National Director of Khulumani Support Group