Alfred Nzo, Secretary-General, ANC: Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
There has been talk of late emanating mainly from sources that have vested interest in the present system of oppression and economic exploitation of the Black majority in South Africa that liberalization of investments accompanied by improvement of the lot of African workers along the lines of the “Polaroid experiment” will eventually corrode apartheid from within. Our attention has been drawn to a “STUDY PROJECT OF EXTERNAL INVESTMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA AND NAMIBIA” being set up in London by a group of international sponsors.
We believe it to be a well-known fact, supported by copious research and documentation, that South Africa`s economic growth and the present size and nature of its economy are substantially the result of the of foreign investment in South Africa over the past 80 years or more. Furthermore, we believe it to be a fact that the flow of investment funds, the political super-structures of white racism and apartheid and the high rates of profits earned by foreign capital in South Africa, all stand in a relationship of mutual dependence on each other. The apartheid system ensures high profits through the massive repression and exploitation of the African majority; the inflow of foreign capital services to bolster the security of the South African regime and so sanction the apartheid system. Hence in our opinion any study of the role of foreign capital in South Africa which does not rest on the political understanding and on a grasp of these political facts will either be of little real value or will serve those who wish to perpetuate the present situation, e.g. the Polaroid Experiment. In our view the aims and objects of the Project fail to take these facts into account and hence we must have grave reservations about its value and purpose.
The United Nations in response to petitions and vehement protests from the ruthlessly oppressed Black people of South Africa, through the African National Congress, has taken a number of important resolutions calling for an embargo on the flow of foreign capital to South Africa and Namibia. These resolutions are based on extensive studies published by the UN Special Committee on Apartheid and other agencies of the UN. These studies conclusively show that the South African apartheid system and the continued South African illegal occupation of Namibia crucially depend on the support of international capital and its continued flow into South Africa and Namibia. The Project ignores these resolutions and studies. And above all callously negates the call of the oppressed people for a total international boycott – economic, political, cultural, etc. – of South Africa. Therefore we fear that any re-opening of the question as the Project attempts to do can only serve to undermine the credibility and force of the policy of the UN.
The African National Congress of South Africa as the premier liberation movement of the African people of South Africa have not been consulted by the sponsors of the Project. Had we been so consulted when the Project was first mooted, we would have certainly urged the sponsors to clearly define the political frame of reference of the Project in the terms under paragraph two above and next, that any research being undertaken should be directed towards strengthening the policies of the UN and the international campaign for the ending of foreign investment in South Africa and Namibia.
We hope these views of ours will be of assistance. We are forwarding a copy of this letter to the UN Special Committee on Apartheid in New York for their information.