BACKGROUND ON SANCTIONS

by New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid
New York, New York, United States
May 9, 1988
2 pages
Type: Mailing
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The mailing says the Comprehensive Sanctions Bill (HR 1580/S 556) will be considered by the full House during May and is expected to reach the Senate in early June; pressure from unions and their members is vital to passage of the Bill -- the strongest trade sanctions against apartheid rule in South Africa yet proposed. The mailing says the Comprehensive Sanctions Bill would shut important loopholes left open in the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986; it would impose a total trade embargo on South African goods and require complete withdrawal of U.S. corporations doing business in South Africa; U.S. corporations would no longer be able to get around sanctions through licensing agreements and granting distribution franchises to South African-owned companies; for example, even though IBM sold its South African subsidiary and technically "withdrew" in 1986, it continues to sell nearly a quarter billion dollars of materials in South Africa. The mailing says three provisions in the current bill merit unions' particular support. The mailing says Comprehensive Sanctions now includes stiff penalties against multi-national as well as U.S. -based corporations providing oil or petroleum products to South Africa (provisions previously set out in the Wise Bill); these penalties effectively target Shell and British Petroleum, which are among South Africa 's largest international oil providers, by restricting their access to American domestic markets. The mailing says Comprehensive Sanctions specifies that corporations must negotiate the terms of their withdrawal with their South African workforce, a demand made repeatedly by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and underscored in AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Thomas Donahue's remarks in November 1987. The mailing says Comprehensive Sanctions requires that corporations must give their workers ninety days notice of their intention to leave. The mailing says however, several damaging amendments remain to be addressed; under these amendments, wholly Black-owned subsidiaries in South Africa would be exempted from sanctions, creating the potential for corporations and the South Africa government to circumvent the law by manipulating these companies; a ban on U.S. aid would be imposed on any organization affiliated with the African National Congress or the South West African Peoples Organization, perpetuating the South African government's own ''guilt by association'' campaigns; finally, the export of U.S. agricultural products to South Africa is specifically exempted; we feel that each of these provisions weakens Comprehensive Sanctions and should be lobbied against. The mailing says for more information contact the Washington Office on Africa, the American Committee on Africa and the New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid. The mailing discusses the African National Congress (ANC), the South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO), the Washington Office on Africa (WOA) and the American Committee on Africa (ACOA).
Used by permission of former members of the New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers