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Donny Ching spin on Shell support for South African apartheid

By John Donovan

How much respect should we have for Shell Legal Director Donny Ching bearing in mind his attempt to rewrite the history of Shell’s shameful support for the dreadful apartheid regime in South Africa. Perhaps he is just ignorant about the facts. Mr Ching has given an account from his personal perspective as a student at Melbourne University nearly three decades ago. 

This is what he has said on the record:

At that time in Australia, and it was the same all over the world, there was a huge wave of protests about apartheid in South Africa.

At a time when many other companies were leaving South Africa, Shell had decided to stay. Each time I went to the university, I had to run the gauntlet of people who were protesting about Shell.

Running that gauntlet wasn’t easy. People were emotional – they were angry at the companies they thought were contributing the problems in South Africa. I have to admit that I had some sympathy for their point of view.

But Shell believed that staying in South Africa was the right thing to do. The company felt it could have more impact, be more of a force for change, if it remained.

There was a conviction in the company that we were not just there to make money. There was a genuine belief that it was worth taking a short-term reputational hit to gain long-term influence towards the right outcome for the country.

Now, I’m not trying to claim that Shell brought down apartheid, but as I watched how things unfolded I came to see that Shell’s long-term perspective on reputation was right. It became my own.

A book about corporate espionage authored by Eveline Lubbers and published in 2012 “Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark” and other historical evidence provides an entirely different perspective. In 1987, Shell Oil Co implemented a secret 265-page devious plan devised by a Washington-based firm, Pagan International called “The Neptune Strategy.” It was designed to undermine support for critics of Shell’s policy of propping up the despised racist apartheid regime in South Africa.

On page 67, Lubbers reveals that Shell had secret meetings with church delegates. The revelations on page 68 are even more damning, with The Church of England accusing Shell of dishonesty and outright deception.

The last paragraph of Page 74 sets out how Royal Dutch Shell tried to publicly separate itself from the activities of Shell Oil Company in regards to the Neptune Strategy, but evidence showed that this was just a deception.

Mr Ching should read the book and the following information and articles and then withdraw his PR spin putting Shell in a positive light, when in fact its actions were  pure evil, driven as always, by greed.

The book is also informative about Shell’s MI6/Hakluyt connections.

ARTICLE: U.S. unions urge boycott of Shell to fight apartheid: 19 Jan 1986

ARTICLE: Shell, South Africa and Apartheid: 16 Oct 2012

ARTICLE: Shell propped up racist apartheid regime in South Africa: 24 Nov 2012

ARTICLE: The Neptune Strategy:Shell, propped up Apartheid in South Africa: 26 Nov 2012

ARTICLE: Shell accused of benefiting from South African apartheid-era land law: 21 March 2013


RELEVANT PAGES FROM “A HISTORY OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, VOLUME 3, PUBLISHED IN 2007. PREPARED BY SHELL’S PAID HISTORIANS. DEALS WITH SHELL’S SUPPORT FOR APARTHEID and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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