I believe the Sullivan principles, along with other forces, should have 24 more months to work in South Africa, but if statutory apartheid has not ended by that time, there should be a total United States economic embargo against South Africa and the withdrawal of all U.S. companies -- to be followed, I hope, by the withdrawal of companies from other countries.
The Sullivan principles are an equal-rights code for corporate conduct in South Africa. Eight years old, they are the most effective U.S. effort under way in South Africa, working through American companies to bring about positive change. But the principles, along with other forces, must be pushed more than ever to help speed up the far too gradual movement toward fundamental reform.
The compelling need in South Africa for the black population to avert a bloodbath is freedom, including the right of blacks to live and work where they choose, full citizenship rights and full political enfranchisement. This can be accomplished only by the ending of the apartheid system.
A recent strengthening of the Sullivan principles requires U.S. companies to support actively the freedom of blacks to work or live where they choose, as well as to support the ending of all apartheid laws. This means U.S. companies must use their lobbying power and other means to work for the end of influx control, forced removals, passbook requirements and detention without trial, and for full black citizenship rights and the full and equal participation of blacks in the political process.
The Sullivan principles are working. As a result of them, U.S. plants are desegregated, equal pay for equal work is beginning to be paid to black workers, blacks are being elevated to administrative and supervisory jobs, blacks are supervising whites, blacks are being trained with new technical skills, independent free black trade unions are being recognized, schools are being built, housing developments are being constructed, health centers and programs are being initiated, and young blacks by the tens of thousands are being assisted with better education.
A group of South African companies employing a million workers, mostly blacks, is now using the principles. The principles have started a revolution in industrial race relations across South Africa. They have become a platform for many in South Africa arguing for equal rights in government and other places.
But time is running out for peaceful change. While the principles and the company effort are making progress, their impact must go much, much deeper. Mounting tides of protest and turmoil within South Africa make fundamental change urgent if the country is to avoid a catastrophe. South Africa does not have 10 years, or five years, or four year to free its black population before there is massive conflagration.
Unfortunately, more than a hundred U.S. companies in South Africa still do not support the Sullivan principles, and some that claim to be supporters are dragging their feet. During these coming 24 months, all U.S. companies must become a part of this equal rights effort.
Those companies that fail to do so should be compelled to leave South Africa through total divestment actions, stockholder resolutions, boycotts, or other means.
Congress this year should make the newly toughened principles mandatory for all U.S. companies in South Africa, backed up by embargoes, sanctions, loss of tax credits, and other penalties. I would rather see 50 American companies remaining in South Africa aggressively promoting equal rights and actively opposing apartheid, than 300 companies using the principles as camouflage and doing business as usual.
Meanwhile, there must be a moratorium on all American economic expansion in South Africa, until apartheid is officially ended. There should be no new investments, no new bank loans to the South African government or its agencies, an end to the sale of the Kruggerrand, and a halt to the sale of any equipment, material or services to the military or police, backed up with embargoes, sanctions and other penalties.
It is, further, my hope that the president of the United States will set aside "constructive engagement" and use "direct diplomacy" with the South African government, calling in the strongest of terms for the abolition of apartheid.
I am aware that the 24-month deadline for the statutory ending of apartheid, in fact, as a system, is short. But with God's help it is time enough, if companies, governments, and others, along with the courageous efforts of those within the country, work together to bring it about.