Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
It is ludicrous to suggest, as a Cape Town newspaper did today, that the TRC Report has been emasculated by censorship as a consequence of threats of legal action by perpetrators.
More than 400 Section 30 notices were finally sent to people or organisations, as required by the law, to inform them that the Commission was contemplating naming them in a manner which they may regard as being to their detriment. They were given an opportunity to make representations in writing within a stipulated time period.
At the same tie, the Commission had to send draft material to the printers if it was to have any chance of making the Report available to the public tomorrow. It was under very strong pressure to enable the President to release the Report immediately, not least from the media. Throughout the process, the sending of material to the printer was done on the basis that the contents could and would be changed in response to representations we received.
In evaluating responses to the Section 30 notices, draft material in the Report was amended for two basic reasons:
- The Commission was not able to establish whether recipients of the notices actually received them; - Recipients were able to convince the Commission in their representations that findings should be changed or that mistakes had been made.
No more than 15 names were removed from the draft material in the Report as a result of successful representations. To suggest that the Commission, in complying with the requirements of due process in terms of the law, has emasculated the Report is ridiculous.
The Commission faced legal threats, as it had anticipated, from the scores of lawyers who vigorously engaged the Commission. However, in no case did the Commission capitulate in the face of threats.