With reforms turning back apartheid in South Africa, Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, said the time has come for Annapolis to repeal its 7-year-old sanctions against the distant state.
Mr. Snowden said he will introduce legislation at tonight's City Council meeting to rescind a 1986 law barring the city from investing its police and fire pension fund or depositing its other accounts in banks or businesses that operate within South Africa.
The proposal comes after Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, issued a worldwide appeal to nations that imposed economic sanctions on his country to force reform during the past decade to repeal them.
"Now that the sanctions have been successful, it's time to lift them and foster the Democratic changes there," Mr. Snowden said.
Mr. Snowden noted that Annapolis was not alone in passing sanctions. Although Anne Arundel County did not adopt its own sanctions, the state of Maryland did, he said.
William Tyler, city finance director, said the city had no difficulty redirecting its investments, which include a $50 million pension fund and $25 million in operating accounts.
"The sanctions were very controversial when we passed them in 1986, but we now know they were successful," Mr. Snowden said.
In other action, the council is to vote on zoning changes that would allow commercial development in the industrial parks around West Street and Chinquapin Round Road.
Alderman Samuel Gilmer, a Ward 3 Democrat, has proposed the changes in hopes of revitalizing the area where bottling companies and others moved out, leaving empty buildings and large parking lots behind.
The current zoning allows industrial uses, but no office buildings, restaurants or shops, Mr. Gilmer explained. Those uses, along with shopping centers and car dealers, would be allowed under his proposal.