Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:02:42 -0500
From: Robert Weissman <email@example.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list STOP-IMF <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Jubilee 2000 South Africa Launched (fwd)
International Campaign against Apartheid Foreign Debt and Apartheid-caused Debt
From Jubilee 2000 South Africa
30 November 1998
Research just completed indicates that the debt South Africa
accumulated as Apartheid foreign debt is larger than previously
thought and is well in excess of R100 billion [$18 bn]. In addition,
Apartheid destabilisation of the Southern Africa region has been
estimated to have caused physical destruction to the amount of US$117
billion and to have claimed over 2 million victims.
These findings were made public at a Jubilee 2000 seminar on
Apartheid-caused debt held at Khotso House on Thursday 26 November.
The meeting was convened by the Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic
Transformation (ESSET), the South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) and
the Campaign Against Neo-liberalism in South Africa (CANSA) and
attended by representatives of close to 30 organisations, including
church, trade union, civic and NGO structures.
It was addressed by Theo Kneifel and Amanda Weibel, the coordinators
of the German and Swiss Aparheid-caused debt coalitions, and Joy
Kennedy of the Canadian Jubilee 2000 structure, Canadian Ecumenical
The larger than previously realised Apartheid foreign debt stands in
sharp contrast to the repeated claims by the Ministry of Finance that
South Africa does not have significant debt. The research highlights
the role of German and Swiss banks in particular. According to Weibel,
"the German and Swiss banks jumped into the breach in 1985 to rescue
Apartheid." The level of their investment in Sou Africa increased
during the Apartheid years after 1985, decreased at the onset of
negotiations process and decreased further after the first democratic
elections in 1994. This emphasises the importance of campaigning for
the cancellation of this debt.
The meeting was a first for South Africa in addressing the impact of
Apartheid destabilisation on Southern Africa and the Apartheid-caused
debt for the entire region and in discussing strategies to address the
effects of this debt on people and communities in the region.
Kneifel raised the importance of going beyond the call to cancel
Apartheid-caused debt and to extend this to a call on creditors to
make reparations in the form of compensation for the victims of the
Southern Africa region from the debts that have already been repaid.
In criticising the difficulty in getting the Swiss banks to compensate
the victims of Nazi Germany, Weibel stressed the call of the Swiss
Apartheid-caused debt coalition: "Don't make Southern Africa wait
another 50 years as the victims of Nazi Germany did."
In relation to the TRC, Kneifel argued, "One of the severe limits of
the mandate of the TRC is that it stopped at the borders of South
Africa. An important part of the campaign is to take the TRC to the
region and to Europe." The European creditors have a moral and
financial obligation to make reparations for the Apartheid-caused
damage throughout the region
Kennedy raised the importance of locating the debt within the global
financial crisis and the need to ensure that debt cancellation is not
subject to conditions imposed by the international financial
institutions, notably the World Bank and the IMF. Instead, she shared
the Canadian call for the start of the next millenium as a new
beginning in promoting sustainable economic and social development.
Participants at the seminar committed themselves to building the
international campaign to cancel the Apartheid-caused debt and Jubilee
2000 South Africa will take this forward as a central area of focus.
The research report will be formally launched in Germany, Switzerland
and Southern Africa in early 1999.
Contact: George Dor, Publicity Officer, Jubilee 2000 South Africa, tel
648 7000, email@example.com
60 Isipingo Street, Bellevue East 2198,
Tel: (27) (11) 648 7000