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Freedom from Debt = Freedom from Domination
Gauteng Declaration, Southern African Jubilee Debt Summit,
Johannesburg, 18-21 March 1999




On the eve of the new millennium, we are witnessing the
rapid growth of Jubilee 2000 structures and debt coalitions
across the region to tackle the existing problems we face and
to move to a new millennium of hope and change.
The vast majority of the people of sub-Saharan Africa live
in pervasive poverty. In Southern Africa tens of millions of
people are hungry, homeless, jobless, formally uneducated and
die from preventable diseases.
Yet Southern Africa is not intrinsically poor. Indeed, it
is a region rich in natural and human resources. Debt slavery,
the same system of debt bondage that excludes four-fifths of
the world's population from economic and social development,
is a central part of this nightmare. Southern Africa is
shackled by debt owed to the same forces which initiated,
enforced, condoned and sustained slavery and colonialism.
Today this debt is both a manifestation and an instrument of
the unjust international economic order in which the North
dominates the South and the elites in our countries are
willing accomplices and beneficiaries. Countries in Southern
Africa pay as much as 40% of its export earnings to service
the debt. This outflow of resources in debt repayments along
with profit remittances have led to the most wretched of human
conditions.
Not only is the debt burden choking the life of Southern
Africa's human potential, indebted nations have also been
pressurized to agree to crippling conditionalities to get
loans to repay the debt in a deepening spiral of indebtedness.
The Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) have caused
increasing levels of unemployment, reduced government
services, higher prices of food and other basic commodities
and intensified poverty.
Through the imposition of export-led growth, financial and
trade liberalization, fiscal austerity, privatization and
deregulation, our economies remain sources of cheap raw
materials and pools of cheap labour for the interests of the
industrialized North. Through SAPs our governments have become
more accountable to the elites of the North rather than to
their own people. We have been denied the right to be active
participants in the decision-making process of our own
development. In this sense we see how debt has come to be an
instrument of control and domination.
The domination of the North over the South has led to
conditions which have spawned wars and conflicts in our region
that have further exacerbated the levels of poverty, human
suffering - and debt bondage.
The legacy of apartheid compounds this situation. Southern
Africa, as a region, suffers the effects of apartheid-caused
debt. Apartheid-sponsored wars and economic destabilization
forced nations to borrow billions of dollars because of the
international communities' failure to enforce the
international law violated by apartheid.
Over two million people have been killed in Southern Africa
in apartheid-related wars, millions more have been maimed and
thousands of schools, clinics, bridges and roads have been
destroyed. Today, Southern African nations are paying millions
of dollars annually to service apartheid-caused debt to
creditors who were in the main supporters of apartheid. The
total cost of apartheid-caused destabilization in Southern
Africa is far greater than the actual apartheid-caused debts.
The former estimated cost exceeds US$115 billion while
apartheid-caused debt is some $27 billion.
Wars have now escalated to the point of forcing states of
the region to borrow even more and thereby further deepen our
dependence on militarized politics and economic management.
Under these circumstances the debt of Southern Africa is
illegitimate and immoral. Yet there is a debt which we do
recognize - a moral debt. This is the debt that our
governments, the governments of the G7/8, multilaterals and
international commercial banks owe us for unbuilt and broken
down schools, for women and girls who continue to bear the
burden of poverty and for the jobs, homes, clean water and all
the fundamental human rights we do not have.
We thus demand:
* the unconditional, immediate and total cancellation of
the debt;
* the immediate termination of the conditions attached to
all the internationally designed debt relief mechanisms tying
this to further economic adjustment; and
* the scrapping of the HIPC initiative.
The only conditions we recognize are those that are
developed by the popular and representative civil society
organizations. We believe that the results of debt
cancellation can only benefit our people if it is accompanied
by deep-going processes of democratization, the upholding of
human rights - including workers' rights - transparency,
accountability and the provision of basic social services.
We reiterate the call for reparations in the 1993 Abuja
Declaration embracing the totality of all the quantifiable and
unquantifiable costs that have been incurred. Reparations must
compensate for economic and social damage incurred by our
people, to finance the rebuilding of our own infrastructure
and society and to restore our dignity. We believe reparations
are long overdue as our initiative to regain control over our
destiny and to ensure that the African holocaust will never
occur again.
We call for the building of a new democratic world order
upon the eradication of the present order that continues to
bond us to debt through the ties of free trade, exploitative
and extractive movement of transnational corporate investment,
volatile and speculative hot money flows; all within an
ideology concocted by a tiny minority based in the USA, the
so-called "Washington Consensus".
We see the gathering of Jubilee 2000 coalitions and other
popular forces in Cologne in June as an important step in the
march towards the realization of the objectives of our
unifying movements. We demand that the G7 and Bretton Woods
Institutions do justice to us but are under no illusion that
this will happen without an intensification of popular
pressure. That is why we deem it necessary to galvanize our
forces in building up momentum for a strong South-South
coalition and our own agenda for total liberation at the
South-South Summit.
We affirm the Accra, Rome and Tegucigalpa Declarations and
the World Council of Churches Harare Statement on Debt and
welcome the forthcoming Asia Pacific Jubilee summit as part of
our South-South Jubilee process. We call on our Church and
other civil society allies in the North to support our
struggle and the process that has led to this and previous
declarations. In so doing they would be transforming
themselves, as we desire, into vehicles of genuine solidarity
within a Jubilee 2000 global movement led by the South for a
new world in the new millennium.
On our part we shall continue to build Jubilee 2000
coalitions that will empower the broad masses of people to
respond effectively to all the challenges posed by the debt
crisis and the Jubilee clarion for a new millennium. We mean
in this regard people-to-people campaigning to build our own
power, capacity and "globalization of solidarity" networking
in order to ensure the achievement of our goals. We are
building our campaign in such a way that will secure debt
cancellation by all possible means, including exerting
pressure upon all those concerned or by the collective mass
action of unified South debt repudiation if necessary.
We are calling upon everybody to act accordingly and thus
contribute towards realizing the above objectives. Most
importantly, let us boost each other's confidence in our
collective ability to achieve these goals through principled
unity, South-to-South and South-to-North.
Finally, we commit ourselves to self-determination in
working for debt cancellation within a broader concept of
Jubilee, including assertion of our sovereignty from Northern
domination and transformation towards an alternative global
economic system.


Jubilee 2000 Southern African Coalitions
Affirmed by delegates from: Angola, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia,
Zimbabwe, Jubilee 2000 Afrika and Jubilee 2000 Coalitions from
Latin America and the Philippines

 

 


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