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Divestiture in South Africa

June 27, 1985

Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi, the chief of South Africa's Zulu nation, feels that if we divest ourselves of stock in companies that do business in his country, we will be pulling the rug from underneath black South Africans.

What rug? There's no carpet beneath the feet of South African blacks. Just dirt. And that's how they're treated. Like dirt. And American corporations are not easing the pain. They're instead, exploiting black workers for capital gain.

And to make matters worse, thousands upon thousands fo our own citizens are out of work because America has invested in South Africa's cheap labor system (blacks in the mines and the mills).

For instance, South African steel is being imported to make ships in Alabama while, in Birmingham, steel workers have been laid off. This means that many investors have stopped investing in Bethlehem Steel and U.S. Steel, and have converted their money to rands, making white South Africa and themselves richer and black South Africa poorer--lifting aparthed to a higher ground--while from South Africa we hear diversionary messages about whites and blacks being able to marry and Coloreds being seated in parliament.

The issue, simply, is morality. It is immoral to exploit people; to separate families; to imprison people for crying out against injustice; to give people no voice; to stamp out hopes and dreams. And it's immoral for our country to continue to support such legalized racism. We should either pull our money from underneath the so-called rug Buthelezi talks about or make our presence in South Africa based on full equality for all its citizens.

ERNEST CHARLES McCRAY

San Diego

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