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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 435

Paragraph Numbers 1 to 6

Volume 1

Chapter 12

Subsection 20

Volume ONE Chapter TWELVE

Regional Office Reports

JOHANNESBURG OFFICE

■ INTRODUCTION

1 The Johannesburg regional office was located in the heart of downtown Johannesburg and served four provinces: Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the North West Province and the Northern Province. The area includes some of South Africa’s biggest and most industrialised urban areas, including Johannesburg, the East Rand, the Vaal Triangle, Pretoria and Pietersburg. Yet most of the territory is rural, with vast stretches of bushveld dotted with remote villages.

2 A total of 6 200 statements was made to the office; twenty-five Human Rights Violations hearings were organised at which witnesses gave oral testimony of gross human rights violations, and six post-hearing follow-up meetings were held in the different areas.

3 The biggest challenge facing the Johannesburg office was how, with limited human and logistic capacity, to deal with the large population and the wide scope of human rights violations that occurred in this region. The office was allocated a similar staff component to the other regional offices, even though the area it served houses over half the nation’s population. However, through a combination of creative strategies and hard work by the Commission’s staff, the Johannesburg office managed to cover a good many areas that would otherwise have remained untouched. Yet, because of the shortage of resources, the office was not able to cover the full area comprehensively.

■ IDENTITY AND EXTENT OF REGION

Population

4 The Johannesburg office served a population of 16.9 million people, out of a total population of 37.9 million people countrywide. Its area of responsibility included the old Transvaal province and the former homelands of Bophuthatswana, Venda, KwaNdebele, Lebowa and Gazankulu.

Income/poverty profile

5 Poverty and deprivation take various forms in the region. In urban and peri-urban areas, nearly two million people came to live in approximately one hundred informal settlements in the central Witwatersrand region, with an estimated 2 500 homeless people in central Johannesburg alone. In rural areas, between 1.5 million and 2.5 million farm labourers and their families live in great poverty in the former Transvaal Province, vulnerable to stark hunger as a result of drought. The Northern Transvaal had the highest dependency ratio in the country (the number of people supported by one economically active person) at 4.8:1 in 1990.

Languages

6 All of South Africa’s eleven official languages are spoken in this area.

 
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