South African gold funded the British Empire and its wars. The gold industry was the prime beneficiary of the apartheid system, and left legacies of social breakdown, impoverishment and environmental degradation. Production peaked in 1970 and is now in terminal decline; remaining ore reserves are too deep, too expensive and too dangerous to extract.
Eye on the Gold by Terry Crawford-Browne
With the support of Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Terry launched the New York banking sanctions campaign against apartheid in 1985 as a last nonviolent attempt to avert a civil war. President Nelson Mandela subsequently acknowledged that the campaign was the most successful initiative to end apartheid. It became a major motivation behind South Africa’s relatively peaceful transition to constitutional democracy.
Terry represented the Anglican Church at the parliamentary Defence Review in 1996. His international banking experience had informed him about the arms industry as a globally unethical and corrupt business. European governments pressured South Africa to buy warships and warplanes the country could not afford and did not need. It was then not illegal in English law to bribe foreigners, and in Germany bribes were even tax-deductible as “a useful business expense.” The arms deal unleashed a culture of corruption that has severely undermined the liberation from apartheid.After more than 20 years of “following the money,” Terry was vindicated in August 2019 when the report of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal scandal was set aside in the landmark court judgment.