KHULUMANI Support Group and Jubilee SA have challenged government’s assertion that it has adequately addressed the results of apartheid policies and that there is no need to file lawsuits in US courts.
They have been issuing fullpage advertisements in a weekly newspaper in the past two weeks calling on government to amend or withdraw its submission to the Southern District Court of New York.
Former justice minister Penuell Maduna wrote to the US court in July last year asking it to scrap the suit against multinationals, saying it would undermine foreign investment in SA.
Khulumani chairwoman Marjorie Jobson said Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla’s response last Friday that past issues had been dealt with was not true because a little more than 30 000 members of Khulumani had not benefited from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process.
The groups filed a lawsuit in New York in November 2002 on behalf of 87 people against 23 multinationals they said aided and abetted apartheid.
Defendants include Barclays, British Petroleum, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Rheinmetall, Shell and Total. The groups are still waiting for US judge John Sprizzo to make a ruling on whether the reparations cases will proceed in the US.
Jobson said SA’s opposition was the only obstacle in the way of an automatic acceptance of the case. “Our organisations will continue to be open to meeting with government to put our case, indeed we’re even more determined than before to meet.”