No Rainbow Nation Without Reparations

2014-04-26 09:09

They say a nation without land is a nation without identity.

The United Nations, a ‘Eurocentric’ moderator in global affairs, has specific regulations regarding corrections for colonialism in its ‘Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to A Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights’ clause.

I consciously call the UN Eurocentric because in most cases which applied to them taking action against European Colonialism they have been found as both lenient and biased. Their policies have also been accused of not being specific in addressing reparations in their universal sense, but rather focusing on individual rights as opposed to collective, political and economic.

It is now beyond dispute that the Dutch/Afrikaners and the English had grossly violated human rights in their conquest and colonisation of South Africa. The end of Apartheid rule served as a beginning of restitution and redress processes for the affected native cultures as such. Key components of the process of reparations include the rights of the victim to justice and the obligation of the perpetrator to remedy the situation.

With regard to the Apartheid Government, it has been a tricky affair to put it mildly. On one hand, Mr De Klerk acknowledged that black people’s rights were adversely violated. On the other hand, he remarkably asserted the total innocence and transparency of the Apartheid government.

This dodgy behaviour was well transitioned into the ANC government’s own unexceptional advances on restitution and Land Reform. It was always going to be a sticky subject, with regard to the ANC fashioning its Policy after the Freedom Charter document. From an ill-informed distance, the Freedom Charter may appear as a breakthrough resolution, based on the ‘complex’ nature of the former political landscape.

We have heard more often than not our revered leaders proclaiming to loud cheers that ‘South Africa belongs to all who live in it’. But my question is on whose authority? The fact that one is born in South Africa doesn’t necessarily make them South African. South Africa rather belongs to those whom it was annexed from. As much as I admire the policy of EFF and its desire to return power to the masses, Nationalisation still isn’t a complete redress solution frankly.

What was actually supposed to transpire, in my modest layman’s opinions is as follows: 1) The acknowledgement of wrong and subsequent surrender of power by the accused; 2) The confession before a truth commission and the acceptance of any measures deemed as just by intermediary regulations; 3) The provision for physical and emotional therapy in direct or social programmes for victims by the State and/or beneficiaries concerned;  4) The return of absolute power and resources to the rightful inhabitants of the affected region(s) or country.

This implies all the native kingdoms according to their regions were supposed to be reinstated as supreme governors and land owners. In turn, they would summon on behalf of their people at Pretoria to collectively decide if they become totally independent States/Countries according to their pre-colonial boundaries, or if they will unite in reconstruction and development for a common benefit.

Either way, the central authority of Pretoria would be made subordinate to the reinstated authority of the raided homelands. As for those we would consider as ‘innocent bystanders’, namely the Whites, Chinese, Indian and other settlers; they would be at the complete mercy of aboriginal regional authorities and therefore hope for such. They have diplomatic rights to be deported to their countries of origin or to abide by the codes set by the representatives or descendants of those who were subjugated.

But because it makes common sense that the past cannot be undone, and we had to move forward, black natives had to compromise out of the spirit of goodwill. We therefore found it humane and sensible to share this land and its resources with those who were our oppressors. Black people basically sacrificed justice for charity by extending a hand of friendship to the imperialists and offenders.

But as we know, only Political and not Economic power was surrendered. Regarding land and resources, those who benefitted from Apartheid either refused to yield or demanded compensation. Neither did most of apartheid’s superior orchestrators and perpetrators agree to stand before the set Reconciliation Commission for confessions.

Former chair of TRC Desmond Tutu did once highlight his disappointment at the ANC and the former oppressors for their reproachful contribution in the process. Some money has so far been compensated to specific people or families, and more was promised to be paid but it doesn’t look very encouraging.

The truth is all local and international companies (and governments) which made business with Apartheid South Africa technically owe trillions to South African natives. Even with crime, the police don’t care how much you paid for whatever they confiscate as stolen property. Their objective is to compensate the victim and not nurse the guilty parties. ©

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