Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2003 (Revised January 2013)

Multinational Corporations in Apartheid-era South Africa: The Issue of Reparations

by Geoffrey Jones and Cate Reavis

Abstract

Considers the lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of apartheid against multinationals who operated in South Africa prior to 1994. Reviews the debates about divestment from and sanctions against South Africa from the 1950s. Includes case studies of companies that divested—Eastman Kodak and IBM—and stayed—Royal Dutch/Shell and Johnson & Johnson. Concludes with evidence on the use of the Alien Tort Claims Act against corporations in other international contexts.

Keywords: Ethics; Multinational Firms and Management; Government Legislation; Lawsuits and Litigation; Business and Government Relations; Prejudice and Bias; South Africa;

Citation:

Jones, Geoffrey, and Cate Reavis. "Multinational Corporations in Apartheid-era South Africa: The Issue of Reparations." Harvard Business School Case 804-027, August 2003. (Revised January 2013.)