The National Party on Monday objected to ANC accusations which link the NP to the graves of activists executed and secretly buried by security forces during the apartheid era.

NP's chief spokesman Daryl Swanepoel insisted that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission deal with the issue and hold the perpetrators of these atrocities accountable for their deeds.

Swanepoel was reacting to Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa's speech at the reburial of former Umkhonto we Sizwe combatant Andrew "Magic Bones" Madi at Marapyane in Mpumalanga on Sunday.

Phosa said the NP's continued denial that it knew about gross human rights violations in South Africa should be rejected with comtempt.

"The silence of the National Party on the issue of secret graves is deafening. I invited Mr PW Botha, Mr FW de Klerk, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk and other NP members to join the TRC as it continues to exhume our comrades if they are sincere about their ignorance of these graves.

"I am still waiting for their response. I would like to repeat the call. It does not help to run away from the truth. They must come and witness what was done in the name of the whites of this country," Phosa said.

Swanepoel in a statement said the NP appealed to Phosa not to make cheap politics out of human tragedy.

He challenged the African National Congress to accept that under its direct command gross human rights violations had occurred.

He said if the ANC leadership were so innocent, then they should volunteer to have the blanket amnesty granted to them withdrawn in favour of amnesties granted to them as individuals, and for specific deeds which should be fully accounted for in the TRC process.

Swanepoel further challenged the ANC to point out the graves of the victims of its Quatro camp in Angola who were allegedly executed and murdered in foreign countries.

Swanepoel said accusations and counter-accusations as to who was the most evil in the past would not serve South Africa's building and reconciliation, but would only serve to harden division.

"We call on the ANC to accept that serious wrong-doings were committed on all sides, for which organisations, including the NP, have honestly apologised. The toil for this new South Africa will be rewarded by the taking of hands and the joint building of a better future for the generations to come," said Swanepoel.

South African Press Association, 1998
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