All three of the controversial apartheid reparations suits against foreign companies in the United States are now likely to be heard by one single judge early next year, despite efforts by lawyers representing the Jubilee SA and the Khulumani support group, to have its case seperated from the others.
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The Jubilee/Khulumani group has filed its case in the same court in lower New York, as the other two cases, but in January will make a plea for the case to be heard separately, despite broad overlaps in defendants and arguments to be brought before the court. The other two groups of victims are the Apartheid Claims Taskforce and a number of exiled South Africans in Connecticut.
Apartheid Claims Taskforce spokesman John Ngcebetsha said yesterday it was significant that the defendants had also shifted their position from one of opposition to a consolidation of the cases. "They (banks and companies) are combining their cases and sent four attorneys led by Roger Whitten to the court conference," Ngcebetsha said.
The Apartheid Claims Taskforce lodged the first-class action against foreign apartheid sanction busters in June on behalf of thousands of victims of gross violations and labour exploitation. The Jubilee/Khulumani group followed suit this month after a break-up with the Apartheid Claims Taskforce over what the group's spokesman, Mr M P Giyose, yesterday called a possible "lack of legal integrity" in the Act case.
Giyose said that the Apartheid Claims Taskforce case was a class action driven by three victims and a number of lawyers, while the group's case was driven by two organisations, which would bring individual cases for each of their 34 000 victims. "As a result we would not like to combine the three cases and end up with some other lawyer to lead our case," Giyose said.
- Source: Full article "One judge to hear apartheid reparations cases" appeared on the Independant Online iol.co.za website