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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 1
Paragraph Numbers 1 to 10
Volume THREE Chapter ONE
Introduction to Regional Profiles
1 The regional profiles provide an overview of gross violations of human rights as they were reported to the Commission, in both chronological and thematic narrative. It was not possible to include every case brought to the Commission; rather the stories that illustrate particular events, trends and phenomena have been used as windows on the experiences of many people.
2 The primary sources for this report are the statements of individual deponents, as well as submissions by political parties, institutes and professional bodies. Reliance has also been placed on the transcripts of the hearings of the Commission – both human rights violations hearings and amnesty hearings – and on the transcripts of in camera hearings. Documentation from Commission enquiries, such as police dockets, court transcripts, inquest findings, post mortem reports and so on have also been used.
3 In presenting these stories, background details have been used to situate the cases in their proper context. Hence, researchers and writers in the Commission have made use of secondary source material. The reports and publications of research institutes and monitoring bodies, both at home and abroad, have been extensively used. Affidavits collected for other enquiries and investigations have been used where they apply to the cases before the Commission. Published monographs, press reports and ‘unrest reports’ of the South African Police (SAP) have been extensively used.
4 Each regional profile is organised chronologically and divided into four distinct periods: 1960–1975, 1976–1982, 1983–1989 and 1990–1994. These periods correspond roughly with patterns of violations and shifts in the nature of resistance and repression in South Africa as identified from the evidence before the Commission.
5 Within each period, violations have largely been considered within one of two groups, namely ‘State and allied groupings’ and ‘Resistance and revolutionary groupings’. While many events and issues defy such divisions and indeed demonstrate a close interaction of violations by each grouping, certain forms of violations were most strongly associated with a particular grouping.
6 ‘State and allied groupings’ comprises reported violations associated with public order policing, detention and torture, covert actions of the security forces and contra-mobilisation. ‘Resistance and revolutionary groupings’ comprises, for the most part, violations perpetrated by such groupings, including attacks on ‘collaborators’, necklacings, armed actions and sabotage, inter-organisational conflict and so forth. Where the history of violations occurring in the mandate period of the Commission was not amenable to these categories (particularly in the 1990s – the years of political transition), a thematic approach has been used.
7 The evidence before the Commission reveals a complex interaction of events. It has been difficult to separate entirely the stories of victims from the stories of perpetrators. For this reason, there is an inevitable degree of overlap between the regional profiles and the chapters on perpetrators in Volume Two of the report.
8 Findings in the regional profiles focus mainly on events or issues that shaped the nature of gross human rights violations in each region. The regional profiles do not, on the whole, make findings on individual cases. Individual findings are to be found in the summary of statements given to the Commission. Because the findings on individual cases have a bearing on the applications for amnesty still pending, these will become available in full at an appropriate time during the continued work of the Amnesty Committee of the Commission. For the purposes of this report, a full list of the names of persons found by the Commission to be victims appears in Volume Five.
9 It should be emphasised that fuller versions of the profiles are available in the documentary archives of the Commission, as are the full transcripts and audiovisual recordings of all the public hearings convened by the Commission and the original versions of all statements and submissions made to the Commission. To facilitate easy retrieval of primary source material, the reference number for each individual case quoted in the profile has been included in brackets.
10 Finally, every attempt has been made to check and recheck the names published in these reports. If there are errors, please forgive us.