(Part 1 of 3)

Reparations for war are as old as war itself; whether the loser agrees with the reparations or whether it is forcibly taken is another matter. The first known instance of war reparations is the example of Rome imposing the onerous sum of 66 tons of silver on Carthage in 241 BC after the First and Second Punic Wars, also known as the Treaty of Lutatius. Essentially, reparations are intended to cover damages or injuries inflicted during a war and the term refers to money or goods changing hands.

Post WWII, the Allies at the Potsdam Conference imposed equally onerous compensation payments on the “Axis Powers” Italy, Japan, Germany and even Finland. Billions of dollars changed hands internationally from monies, goods, land and even intellectual property to the tune of more than $10 billion that the Americans and the Soviets extracted (stole) from Germany.  

Two cases of compensation payments made WWII unique in that for the first time, the victims of the war started making claims against the aggressors, with the most famous case being the German payments to the victims and families of the Holocaust. In 1958/59, Germany paid the Israeli government DM58 billion sparking a huge debate in the Knesset under the then Prime Minister Golda Meir. Holocaust survivors have received a total of $100 billion since 1952, and this excludes pension payments and cash for psychiatric trauma counselling. Indeed, Israel has received all kinds of ad hoc assistance from Germany in the fields of technology, the sciences,  agriculture, engineering and even the odd freebie submarine……yes, even a submarine folks

This compensation transformed Israel from an agrarian society in the early 50’s to a flower in the desert, boasting a thriving 1st world economy that today exports 30% of its GDP as at 2018.

The other more remarkable example is the tale of the two Germanys. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the cessation of the “Cold War,” East Germany was absorbed into West Germany, and they became a unified country. Under Helmut Kohl, West Germany began the arduous process of rehabilitating the East German infrastructure, social structure, like making sure that the retired communists received regular monthly pensions and reviving their economy through placing an extra tax on the West Germans. As at 2019, it is estimated that the German government would have invested/spent $3 Trillion on the East Germans by 2019. 

What makes this feat all the more remarkable is that West Germany wasn’t in anyway responsible for the economic and social predicament of the East Germans, yet they understood the value of a financial kick start, but chose to take the long view? 

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the outgoing President of the National Party regime, one FW De Klerk also understood the value of financial security, so he struck a deal with the ANC during the “Negotiated Settlement” that all white MP’s that served for 10-years will receive a golden handshake of 1-years full salary, and a full monthly salary adjusted for inflation annually for the rest of their lives. In the event of their death, their spouse would receive ¾’s of that salary, adjusted for inflation for the rest of her natural life. 

So let’s look at our story for financial restitution and land repatriation for the victims of generational Apartheid and white supremacy? Let’s consider the internationally accepted legal precedents that our government, in collaboration with the corporatized media chooses to withhold from us? 

The United Nations 1973 Convention on Apartheid, declared it a Crime against Humanity, loosely translated, it was systemic genocide, not unlike the Jewish Holocaust, just much slower and by other means… 

A little known fact is that……..

Resolution 217 A (III) adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 10th December 1948, states as follows….

UN Basic Principles on the Right to a Remedy and Reparations to Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law:

Obligation to respect, ensure respect for and implement international human rights law and international humanitarian law 

1. The obligation to respect, ensure respect for and implement international human rights law and international humanitarian law as provided for under the respective bodies of law emanates from: 

(a) Treaties to which a State is a party;

(b) Customary international law; 

(c) The domestic law of each State. 

2. If they have not already done so, States shall, as required under international law, ensure that their domestic law is consistent with their international legal obligations by: 

(a) Incorporating norms of international human rights law and international humanitarian law into their domestic law, or otherwise implementing them in their domestic legal system; 

(b) Adopting appropriate and effective legislative and administrative procedures and other appropriate measures that provide fair, effective and prompt access to justice; 

(c) Making available adequate, effective, prompt and appropriate remedies, including reparation, as defined below; 

(d) Ensuring that their domestic law provides at least the same level of protection for victims as required by their international obligations.

It must be noted that there is no Statute of Limitations on this resolution……..

Here’s the negotiated settlement in a nutshell folks: 

The ANC agreed to adhere to the following:

  1. Pay off the old Apartheid debt
  2. Not nationalise any banks, companies, organisations or land
  3. Not arrest anyone for war crimes
  4. Ignore all the tenets of The Freedom Charter, essentially for the sake of power, albeit only political power.
  5. Not explicitly offer the victims of Apartheid any form of financial redress, amongst others

Notice, that redress isn’t a key article in our much vaunted constitution?

This makes our government one that doesn’t comply with international law of which it is a signatory, I believe for the sake of peace. In effect South Africa is brazenly flouting key international laws and worst still, behaves as if it has the higher moral ground, and that this outstanding issue will simply go away?

The South African government are at this point in violation of international laws and therefore a “borderline” rogue state in so far as its actions or lack thereof negatively impacts its own people. 

The madness, the depravity, the perversion of not paying reparations for the Crimes and the systemic brutality of Apartheid, is that a black government is missing an opportunity to do something ground-breaking and morally significant, and as a businessmen, Cyril Ramaphosa must know that the practical implications of compensation of that magnitude, translates into an immediate economic boost similar to the Israeli experienced back then…..

to be continued