Saturday, May 10, 2003

Statement by Archbishop Ndungane on Reparations

Statement issued by Archbishop Ndungane on May 10th 2003

This morning I had the first informal meeting with representatives of Jubilee 2000, the Khulumani Group, the Apartheid Debt and Reparations Campaign, the Apartheid Claims Task Force, Mokoena attorneys and the SACC. The principle of dialogue rather than litigation was discussed and all groups are agreed that dialogue is the preferred course of action. The courts should be a last resort. Let us bear in mind that the case is being brought to the international courts by South Africans.

My intention is to pursue that course through dialogue and a way forward acceptable to all parties. What I do not want is the adverse publicity for our country that will result if we hang our dirty linen out in international forums. It is an absolute necessity for all the parties to come to the table. From what I heard from the claimants today it is imperative for me to seek a meeting with the business community and government to share what the claimants are saying. I believe they too will agree on the importance of dialogue.

The principle of restorative justice is a characteristic of our transition from apartheid to democracy. What these groupings are saying is that there can be no closure of our past without addressing the outstanding issues. It is my view that they need to be heard and certain issues need to be addressed so we can have a dignified ending to the whole matter and that all South African can work, with hope and shoulder to shoulder to build a
sustainable future for all.