The Last Mile - U.S. Communities and South Africa

Global Communities
by Institute for Policy Studies
Washington, DC, United States
Winter 1991-1992
8 pages
Type: Newsletter
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents: The Last Mile - U.S. Communities and South Africa • IN BRIEF • City Anti-Apartheid Action • Municipal Foreign Policy - News and Commentary • The newsletter says in December, 19 South African political parties including the African National Congress (ANC), the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and the ruling National Party issued a declaration committing themselves to draft a new constitution and to create a "united, democratic, nonracial and nonsexist" South Africa. Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC's representative at the talks, said, "… we are convinced that we are walking the last mile.” A concerted international campaign, working alongside the ANC and other major anti-apartheid groups within South Africa, has succeeded in isolating the white supremacists of Pretoria and forcing them to undertake major reforms. Among the first sanctions were implemented by U.S. state and local governments. Nineteen states, 13 counties, and 62 cities divested from firms doing business in South Africa before Congress passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986. Since then, the ranks of local jurisdictions enacting sanctions have grown to 27 states, 25 counties, 101 cities, and the Virgin Islands. Sixty-four cities will not use banks that make loans to South Africa; nine cities have declared themselves "Shell Free Zones" where no products from Royal Dutch Shell or its subsidiaries are bought. Sanctions were also crucial in ending U.S. bank loans to South Africa. When Chase Manhattan, one of the largest U.S. lenders to South Africa, adopted a policy in 1985 of not making any new loans to Pretoria regime, the South African government was forced to declare a debt-repayment standstill. Since then, the country has received few new international loans. Seizing the opportunity to renew business ties with South Africa, President Bush lifted sanctions last July 10 and certified that the five conditions of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act had been met. None of the conditions has been met fully, however, and some not even remotely. Many political prisoners are still in jail, including hundreds of prisoners of conscience in South Africa's "independent homelands." In his capacity as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Raymond Flynn of Boston reiterated that the formal policy of the organization was to retain sanctions. The U.S.-South Africa Sister Community Project recently opened an office in Johannesburg to provide accurate and timely information about what is going on in the ten South African communities linked to U.S. cities. A recent link is between San Francisco and the Mfengu people, who are on the verge of reclaiming land taken from them over 15 years ago in Tsitsikamma. San Francisco has sent two attorneys to help the Tsitsikamma Exile Association with legal work and research for 50 families to occupy unused land. Other community linkages involve Berkeley and Oukasie, Atlanta and Braklaagte, Chicago and Alexandra, Louisville and Kleinskool, Milwaukee and Potsdam, Phoenix and  Peelton, Saint Paul and Lawaaikamp, Seattle and Daliwe, and Wichita and Thornhill. The newsletter discusses Hudson County, New Jersey, National Westminster USA, oil, Governor Jim Florio, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC), Nelson Mandela, the Population Registration Act, the 1913 and 1936 Land Acts, the Group Areas Act, President F.W. de Klerk,  states of emergency, "unrest areas, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), negotiations, IBM, Lotus, Federal Express, TransAfrica, Ford Motor, Pepsico, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, licensing agreements, and non-equity links.
Collection: Miloanne Hecathorn papers