Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
In recent months, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has sent out about 200 notices to individuals across the political spectrum in South Africa, informing them that they may be named in our Report, which is to be delivered to President Mandela on October 29.
We have sent these notices in order to comply with the obligations laid down in Section 30 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which provides that any person implicated in a manner which may be to his or her detriment shall be afforded an opportunity "to submit representations to the Commission within a specified time..." In our "Section 30 notices" we have given those notified the opportunity to make written representations to us.
A number of political figures linked with the former government responded to their notices by angrily denouncing the TRC in public. Many of those, and other officials of the old government, are now involved in a vigorous exchange of correspondence with the TRC through their lawyers over their written representations.
In the case of the ANC, the leadership of the party asked the TRC for a meeting to discuss our contemplated findings on them. After discussion within the Commission, I informed them that the Commission had decided we could not accede to this request.
The reason for refusing the meeting is that we have laid down a procedure in terms of which all who receive Section 30 notices must respond by way of written representation. We have refused meetings to others who have asked for them. If we had a private meeting with the ANC over our findings, the inference could be drawn that we gave a liberation movement an unfair advantage over others. It would be a very sad day if the public were to develop the perception that we gave the ruling party such an advantage.
We therefore insisted that the ANC, like any other party or individual, should make written representations if it believes any of our findings are wrong or unfair. Those written representations would be given the same consideration as those from any other individual or party.
There is a suggestion in today's Mail and Guardian that only a minority in the TRC has made findings about the ANC which could be to its detriment. This is wrong -- the findings were made by consensus among Commissioners. I cannot comment on the suggestion that a majority of staff members of the TRC dissent from the findings, but I would doubt this and, in any event, the contents of the Report are the responsibility of Commissioners alone.