The Lawsuit 101: Enough is Enough – End Corporate Impunity!

9 Jun

The Red Card Campaign was established to raise awareness about the Khulumani lawsuit against 5 multinational corporations that are alleged to have aided and abetted the apartheid government in crimes against humanity. For those of you new to the case, and the reasons for bringing it, here’s the 101 version (also check out the FAQ section for more details).

In 2002 Khulumani through American attorney Michael Hausfeld lodged a complaint in the NY District Court on behalf of its members who had suffered from torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention and other abuses. The complaint alleged that 23 multinational companies across sectors of Banking, Oil, Transport, Technology and Arms all aided and abetted the South African military and government to commit the brutal systemic acts which came to define Apartheid as a Crime Against Humanity. By providing financing to the military, oil to fuel tanks, technology to implement pass laws, and components to manufacture weapons the complaint alleged these companies provided the means for the apartheid government to brutally repress the vast majority of South Africans. None of these companies ever engaged with the TRC business hearings, or in any way acknowledged their complicity. They profited off the lives of Black, Indian and Coloured South Africans and so this case is an attempt for South African people to say ‘enough is enough’ – it’s time to end corporate impunity!

Over the last 8 years the case has been through many ups and downs: we’ve seen changes in governments and changes in their support for the case, refined the complaint to its present format and won unimagined victories that set precedents for what kinds of actions corporations can be held accountable for. The five companies left in the lawsuit are: Daimler, Ford, IBM, General Motors and Rheinmettal. Over the next month we will be giving full profiles of each of these companies, detailing their alleged involvement with the apartheid regime. We will also introduce you to some of the plaintiffs – Khulumani members who continue to deal with the after-effects of their brutal treatment under apartheid.

Presently we are awaiting a decision from the court about whether or not the companies will be forced to open their records fully and expose all their business relations with the apartheid government.  We need your support to show that people around the world demand full transparency and accountability from these corporations!


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