The government vowed on Tuesday to oppose a multi-billion dollar lawsuit lodged by apartheid victims against it and eight big corporations, but said it had received no official notification of the action.
"We have read the reports in the papers but we haven't received any documentation," justice ministry spokesperson Nathi Kheswa said in Pretoria.
The presidency was also in the dark. "We have not received any correspondence from (United States lawyer) Ed Fagan," said spokesperson Bheki Khumalo.
Fagan announced on Monday that a $10-billion (about R63-billion) lawsuit was filed in the New York District Court on Saturday for "genocide, expropriation and other wrongful acts" by international companies under apartheid.
The claimants also wanted another $10-billion in damages because the post-apartheid government "continued to allow companies to exploit victims without protecting them, allowing industry to violate people's rights", the AFP news agency reported.
The full amount would be paid into a "humanitarian fund", said Fagan, a well-known class-action lawyer. The plaintiffs were six apartheid victims: including Dorothy Molefi, the mother of teenager Hector Peterson who was killed in Soweto in June 1976 when police opened fire on protesting pupils.
The companies named are computer company IBM, mining giants Anglo American and Gold Fields, the Union Bank of Switzerland, the Fluor Corporation, Sasol/Natref1, Startcor/Union Carbide and Vatmetco.
Khumalo said the government would oppose the application and defend its position in court. "South Africans are not gullible. They know that this government has always been on the side of justice and those who seek justice.
- Source: Full article "We're not gullible, says government" appeared on the Independant Online iol.co.za website