A Truth & Reconciliation Commission official has told De Beers that companies may be compelled to contribute to the TRC compensation and rehabilitation fund.
Abstracts from article:
Fund chairman Hlengiwe Mkhize said Government could be approached to compel companies that benefited from apartheid to pay reparations. This week she said she had discussed compensation with De Beers MD Gary Ralfe last year. Follow-up talks are expected soon with De Beers executives, including Barbara Masekela.
Mkhize said Ralfe expressed concern at the possible stimulation of "victim dependency and we assured him that people would not be allowed to sink to this status and the fund would be managed according to strict rules".
She said De Beers also made the point that it was already involved in various nation-building exercises and would, for instance, have to reconsider its involvement in the President's Fund, which has a compensatory and other functions.
Rembrandt, Anglo American, Tongaat-Hulett, Woolworths and Barlow apparently declined to contribute to the fund.
But Rembrandt communications director Hand Knoetze said the commission's request had not been rejected out of hand. "We receive numerous requests and this was just one of the many that we could not grant. Every company has project aims. Rembrandt's community projects are largely long-term, which leaves little room for ad hoc contributions."
Tongaat-Hulett executive director J B Magwaza said his group appreciated the importance of compensation as part of reconciliation in SA. "We support, in principle, the TRC's efforts to collect funds for this purpose. "Through community responsibility and investment programmes, we support a number of essential and significant programmes and projects, such as the job creation initiative, the Black Management Forum, Equip streetchildren's projects, the National Business Initiative and Business Against Crime, to mention but a few. The TRC strategy of recruiting supporters for compensation would do well to bear this in mind."
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