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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 147

Paragraph Numbers 37 to 38

Volume 1

Chapter 6

Subsection 7

Event hearings

37 In the event hearings, the Commission focused not on the individual experiences of victims, but on specific events in which gross violations of human rights occurred. These hearings explored the context in which a specific event occurred and typically involved testimony not only from victims but also from alleged perpetrators and experts with specific knowledge about the event or issues related to it. These hearings were selected as ‘window cases’ and aimed to provide detailed insights into particular incidents that were representative of broader patterns of abuse. Event hearings also provided affected communities and their representatives with the opportunity to speak about collective experiences of abuse, thus offering a more global perspective of human rights abuse. The following event hearings took place:

a The 1976 Soweto student uprising.

b The 1986 Alexandra six-day war that followed attacks on councillors.

c The KwaNdebele/Moutse homeland incorporation conflict.

d The killing of farmers in the former Transvaal.

e The 1985 Trojan Horse ambush by the security forces in the Western Cape.

f The 1986 killing of the ‘Gugulethu Seven’, following security force infiltration of African National Congress (ANC) structures in the Western Cape.

g The 1990 Seven-Days War, resulting from IFP-ANC clashes in the Pietermaritzburg area.

h The Caprivi Trainees, who were trained by the South African Defence Force (SADF) and deployed in KwaZulu-Natal as a covert paramilitary force in 1986.

i The 1960 Pondoland Rebellion, in response to the imposition of the Bantu Authorities Act which prepared the way for the independent homelands.

j The 1992 Bisho Massacre, in response to an ANC national campaign for free political activity in the homelands.

Special hearings

38 Special hearings sought to identify patterns of abuse experienced by individuals and groups. An attempt was made to elicit the experiences of vulnerable persons who had suffered gross human rights violations. Specific attention was given to the prevention of future human rights violations and recommendations to promote reconciliation. Hearings were held on:

a Children and youth

b Women

c Compulsory national service (conscription)

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