South African President Thabo Mbeki made it clear in the National Assembly on Tuesday that there would be no special legal mechanisms to impose tax on business – or individuals – as a form of reparation to apartheid human rights victims.
However, he encouraged South African citizens “from all sectors” to contribute to the President’s Fund, which had – and would continue – to make reparations to apartheid victims.
Mbeki however told the National Assembly during the debate on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) final report that “consultations are continuing with the business community to examine additional ways in which they can contribute to the task of the reconstruction and development of our society”.
“Proceeding from the premise that this is in their own self-interest, in addition to intensifying work with regard to such tasks as poverty eradication, and programmes such as black economic empowerment, encouraging better individual corporate social responsibility projects, implementation of equity legislation and the Skills Training Levy; we intend to improve the work of the Business Trust.”
The Business Trust, a collective of South African business, provides funding for development projects.
Mbeki emphasised that the TRC – headed by Anglican Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu – had recommended that beneficiaries of apartheid should make contributions to a reparation fund. The government, he said “believes that all South Africans should make such contributions”. He pointed out that the government had already established a President’s Fund.
This had already provided “urgent” reparations to apartheid victims. “We do hope that citizens from all sectors will find it within themselves to make a contribution to this fund.”