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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 425
Paragraph Numbers 10 to 21
■ METHOD OF WORK
Commissioners allocated to region
10 The regional office was allocated a single commissioner, the Revd Bongani Finca, formerly of the Border Council of Churches. Four committee members were assigned to it: Mr Ntsikilelo Sandi, Ms Judith ‘Tiny’ Maya and Ms June Crichton for the Human Rights Violations Committee and Archdeacon Mcebisi Xundu for the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee. Ms Motho Mosuhli was later appointed to replace Ms Maya, who resigned from the Commission.
11 The total staff component in the region was seventy persons, although numerous vacancies were experienced throughout the life of the Commission. Several organisations helpfully released staff to the Commission without insisting on proper notice periods. Some staff members were seconded to the Commission, but most were hired directly. The lack of skilled persons was severely felt in the East London office and a large staff turnover was experienced.
12 The Investigation Unit was hardest hit by staffing problems, enduring three different heads of unit. Its work was further hampered by the lack of proper hand-over between the successive co-ordinators. It also proved extremely difficult to find and retain suitable investigators. All this had a serious effect on the unit’s work.
13 Bonding between staff who came from different political, work and racial backgrounds was a challenge, and major efforts were made to build relationships, trust, communication and understanding. A staff association played an invaluable role and enjoyed support from almost all members of staff.
Accommodation, resources and equipment
14 After some teething problems, accommodation for the entire East London regional office was eventually located within the same building. Offices were spread across four floors, with the Commission occupying only two of these floors in their entirety. This made security of the building, people, equipment and documentation an ongoing problem.
15 A small satellite office was later set up in Port Elizabeth to augment the work taking place in East London.
16 Despite excellent computer facilities, there was a lack of computer skills in the office. An e-mail link helped communications with staff in Port Elizabeth.
17 A shortage of office equipment and vehicles also created problems.
Methodology and assessment of work
18 The regional office used unit and departmental meetings to facilitate greater coordination and management of its work. Regular meetings included staff meetings, regional management meetings and regional committee meetings for committee members, the commissioner and the regional manager.
19 It took a considerable time before systems adopted by the Commission nationally were properly implemented in the East London office. This was owing in part to a lack of understanding of the systems by staff, and partly to the shortage of departmental heads. This particularly affected work on human rights violation cases.
20 The lack of systems and crucial personnel resulted in a lot of unnecessary initial confusion and uncoordinated work in the office. However, many staff used their own initiative to get work underway, with several staff members performing duties beyond those described in their job descriptions.
21 Fiscal and other controls were put in place in the office, although the absence of a regional budget undermined the effective monitoring and control of expenditure at regional level.