Pretoria – Government was on Sunday dismissive of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s support for cases brought before US courts by apartheid victims.
Presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo referred queries to government chief spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe, who said Tutu should first have discussed his concerns with the state.
“If the archbishop had sat down with the Minister of Justice (Peneull Maduna) to discuss the issue, he would have had a clearer understanding of the government’s position on the litigation in the US,” Netshitenzhe said.
“This is that not settling the matter (of apartheid victims) inside South Africa has profound implications for the future of the country, for instance for the assessment of the country risk profile, and for investment and job creation.”
The Sunday Independent reported that Tutu was urging a US court to go ahead with the case in an eight-page affidavit.
In the document, Tutu, a Nobel laureate and former chairperson of the TRC voiced his frustration with the stance taken by the government of President Thabo Mbeki.
The case is seen as crucial for four separate lawsuits launched against multinational banks and companies which allegedly supported the apartheid state during the 1980s in contravention of UN sanctions.
Maduna asked the court in July last year to dismiss the suits.
Mbeki has in the past condemned the move, arguing that many of the companies cited were now assisting in South Africa’s development.