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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Business and Apartheid: A Critical Evaluation
Author:Nattrass, Nicoli J.ISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:private enterprises
offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/723525
Abstract:Unlike truth commissions elsewhere, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) investigated the role of business in its exploration of the past. This article reviews the different notions of business involvement and culpability that appeared in the various submissions to the TRC, and in the final TRC report. The TRC distinguished three different orders of business involvement with the apartheid regime: active collaboration in the construction of apartheid; supplying goods and services used for repressive purposes; and benefitting from the apartheid economy. The TRC found that certain businesses, especially the mining industry, were involved in helping to design and implement apartheid policies. Other businesses benefitted from cooperating with the security structure of the former State. Most businesses were culpable by virtue of having benefitted from operating in a racially structured environment. The TRC proposed that wealth taxes be considered as appropriate restitution, but no attempt was made to make the proposed restitutive measures proportional to the different levels of involvement. The author argues that this systemic approach directed attention away from those whose involvement with apartheid was of graver moral concern than that of others. Notes, ref., sum.