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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 447

Paragraph Numbers 45 to 48

Volume 1

Chapter 12

Subsection 26


45 Without the co-operation of civil society organisations, the Commission would not have been able to do its work. Before every hearing, in many small towns, Commission representatives met with local faith communities, NGOs and community organisations. These organisations took the word of the Commission to the people on the ground. They put up posters, organised meetings, accommodated staff in emergencies, distributed pamphlets, made use of loudhailers and even assisted with logistical requirements such as finding venues and caterers.

46 Several organisations in the area ran workshop programmes aimed at educating members of different communities about the Commission. The Centre for the Study of Violence, for example, developed its own audio-visual educational materials for this purpose. The communication officer met frequently with these organisations in order to co-ordinate their workshop programmes with the Commission’s publicity needs.

47 Local organisations helped the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee provide psychological support by counselling witnesses at hearings. These community briefers would attend a one-day training course about a week before a hearing. Social workers, priests, nurses and Life Line counsellors provided invaluable comfort to victims during and after hearings.

48 As discussed earlier, statement taking was greatly enhanced by the contribution of local organisations. During 1996, the office ran a voluntary statement-taker programme in which local organisations assisted the in-house statement takers to reach as many victims as possible. These local statement takers proved invaluable in identifying and reaching victims in both urban and rural areas and gathered most of the statements in preparation for the Vaal Triangle hearing in Sebokeng. This voluntary programme became formalised in 1997 as the designated statement taker programme.

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