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  • Written by  Mail&Guardian
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Activists to protest apartheid-reparations affidavit

Supporters of activist groups Khulumani and Jubilee South Africa are planning demonstrations in a last-ditch effort to get Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Bridgette Mabandla to withdraw an opposing affidavit in an apartheid-reparations appeal case due to be heard in the United States next week.

Arguing that the case undermines the sovereignty of the South African government, the justice ministry has filed an affidavit calling for the dismissal of Khulumani's case against 23 international companies that allegedly benefited from doing business in South Africa during the apartheid era.

Oral arguments in the case will be heard in the Court of Appeals, Second District of New York, on Tuesday.

Jubilee South Africa plans to demonstrate that morning outside the justice ministry in Pretoria, while the Western Cape Branch of the Khulumani Support Group plans to stage an all-night vigil in Cape Town on Tuesday evening in a last-ditch effort to get the government to withdraw its opposition to the case.

An application filed earlier by Khulumani for reparations to be made to victims of human rights suffered under apartheid was rejected by the Southern District Court in New York on the grounds that it was more of a political issue than a legal one.

Companies that Khulumani is seeking reparations from include international banking groups such as Barclays plc, Citibank and Deutsche Bank, which it says profited from making the finance available that enabled South Africa to expand its apartheid police and security apparatus; and oil companies such as Total, BP, Engen and Shell, among others, which it charges profited by violating the oil embargoes against South Africa at the time.

It also cites car manufacturers such as Daimler Chrysler, which it alleges profited from manufacturing the armoured vehicles used to patrol the townships, "knowing that they would be used in repressive activities in the townships"; and arms manufacturers, which it claims profited by violating embargoes on arms sales to South Africa. -- I-Net Bridge

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