The Commission is grateful to the PAC for their past cooperation. I am confidant that the present distention can be resolved through discussion.
I want to place on record that the TRC is not responsible for the legal fees of former State President, PW Botha, as is alleged by the PAC.
The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which guides our work, stipulates that the TRC is obliged "to assist people who are not financially capable of appointing a legal representative, and if it is of the opinion that it is in the interest of justice that the person be represented by a legal representative." This is the case for both amnesty applicants as well as people subpoenaed to appear before the Human Rights Violation Committee or Amnesty Committee.
The Legal Aid Board also administers a means test, as a requirement, to ascertain whether the person qualifies for legal assistance. If it is for instance found that a person could afford his or her own legal fees, no legal aid is approved. However, the TRC has no involvement whatsoever in either the approval or the tariff payable in matters funded in terms of the Act.
As far as institutions and in this case the state is concerned, the State Attorney's Act of 1957 lays down rules and guidelines for employees and former employees of the state. The state is contractually bound to assist such employees according to tariffs which are adapted from time to time by the state. The TRC is not involved in this process and has no obligations whatsoever in terms of providing such legal aid. This is a matter for the Justice Department.
The TRC has on several occasions made representations to the minister urging that members of the former liberation movements be afforded the same legal aid tariffs as state employees. As a result the access to such funding is now potentially open to them in consultation with the Justice Department.