State Failed to Support Apartheid Victims

rights violations apartheid oppression
Wednesday, 11 September, 2013 - 10:34

The ruling by a United States court that United States companies could no longer be held liable for human rights violations that took place outside that country’s borders, is a blow to the oppressed people worldwide

The brother of Anton Fransch, killed by security police, will always remember the young Umkhonto we Sizwe member as a “determined fighter for human rights”, but says the government has failed to support the families of apartheid victims.

Speaking to the Cape Times at his Bonteheuwel home, Mark Fransch said he felt ‘deeply hurt’ by the outcome of the South Africa Apartheid Lawsuit which was dismissed by a United States appeal court after a 10 year battle.

Fransch said: “It’s been a very long struggle and I don’t feel satisfied. There has been nothing to help the families of the fallen heroes. I blame our president and ministers for not supporting the class action. They are sitting on their high horses and the reality is that the people who fought the struggle for this country got no support from this government.”

Human rights support group Khulumani lodged the class action more than 10 years ago on behalf of 85 000 families of apartheid victims.

The lawsuit charged companies with aiding and abetting the perpetration of extrajudicial killings, torture, prolonged and arbitrary detention, indiscriminate shooting and rape.
The companies did business with the apartheid government by providing bullets, vehicles and technology.

The court ruled that United States companies could no longer be held liable for human rights violations that took place outside that country’s borders.

For the past 10 years he was confident that the victims’ families would get some reparation from the companies, but 24 years after his brother was killed in an explosion in Athlone, his family had no closure, Fransch says.

“I thought we were on the verge of winning, and this case could’ve been so different if the government supported us,” he said.

“(Anton) was a very gentle person and he always used to tell our mother that he was fighting the struggle for her and for a better life for all of us. I used to beat him up because he made my mother worry but he was determined to fight apartheid.”

Anton Fransch was 20 when he was killed in a seven-hour battle with security police at a Church Street home in November 1989.

As a teenager Anton was away from home for long periods and was often sought by security police. Mark Fransch said he had last seen his brother four years before he was killed.

He describes the scene at the Church Street home as ‘horrific’, with his brother’s blood and some body parts splattered over the walls.

Meanwhile, the Khulumani group describes the dismissal of their case as a ‘major blow’ to victims of oppression all over the world and says it highlights the weaknesses in international law that did not hold transnational corporations accountable for their role in human rights violations.

- This article first appeared in the Cape Times.  

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