• Written by  Independent Online
  • Published in In the News
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Joseph Stiglitz endorses Khulumani lawsuit

The debate over apartheid reparations took an unexpected turn in August 2003 with Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate and former World Bank vice-president coming out firmly in support of the victims' lawsuits.

Abstracts from article:

  1. Stiglitz, also a former chief economist of the World Bank, wrote to the New York court in an apparent move to counter efforts by the South African government and multinational corporations to quash the lawsuits. He said the lawsuits would aid economic growth in South Africa.

  2. His two-page letter on Wednesday follows that of Penuell Maduna, the justice minister, to the court last month, in which he argued that "permitting the litigation" would discourage "much-needed foreign investment and delay the achievement of the government's goals". "Indeed, the litigation could have a destabilising effect on the South African economy as investment is not only a driver of growth, but also of unemployment," Maduna said.

  3. American-born Stiglitz, who piloted a new form of economics based on market information, took a diametrically opposite view, and said the South African government's concern has "no basis". "Apartheid is a matter of the past, though its consequences live on," Stiglitz wrote.

  4. "Those who helped support that system, and who contributed to human rights abuses, should be held accountable. Holding them accountable would contribute to confidence in the market system, creating a more favourable business climate. If anything, it would thereby contribute to South Africa's growth and development."

  5. Stiglitz told the judge: "South Africa has expressed concern that recent suits in America, intended to address issues of abuses of basic individual rights during the apartheid regime in South Africa, risk having an adverse effect on growth and development in South Africa. I see no basis for those concerns."

  • Source: Full article "Nobel laureate endorses apartheid reparations" appeared on the Independant Online website

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