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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 3
Paragraph Numbers 11 to 12
11 The Human Rights Violations Committee gathered 21 296 statements during the course of its work. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the Commission) asked all South Africans who had suffered in the political conflicts of the past to come to the Commission and make a statement. In an attempt to reach all sectors of the community, especially those that were hostile to the Commission, it made special appeals through the media and through hearings to ensure that all voices were heard.
12 These statements were analysed by a team of data processors in each of the four offices, who then loaded the details of the violations onto a computerised database. These details included the names of the victims, the names of the alleged perpetrators, the date and place of the violation and a description of what happened. Violations reported in the Free State were recorded by the Durban office and the statistics for the two provinces are combined. Violations reported in Kwa-Zulu Natal account for the overwhelming majority. The table below shows the total amount of information gathered by each office:
13 It should be noted that a statement may describe more than one violation, and that a victim may have suffered more than one violation.2 On average, 140 victims and 160 violations were mentioned in every 100 statements. In total, 46 696 violations involving 28 750 victims were reported to the Commission.
14 Note also that none of these figures includes information from the Amnesty Committee. The work of that committee is perpetrator-focused, and was far from complete at the time of reporting. This volume considers only the violations reported to the Human Rights Violations Committee.
15 After the details were captured, each statement was corroborated by the Investigative Unit and passed to the Human Rights Violations Committee, which made findings on the violations. The tables and analyses which follow are based on 37 942 violations reported by victims who were found by the Committee3 to have suffered a gross violation as defined in the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act. Of these violations, 33 713 are gross violations of human rights.
Types of violation
16 The figure below shows the numbers of violations in each category, grouped into the four areas covered by each regional office.
17 The greatest number of violations occurred in the area covered by the Durban office where 8 923 cases of severe ill treatment and 4 820 killings were reported. This is nearly double the number of violations from the area with the next highest figure – the area covered by the Johannesburg office – even though the population in the Durban office area (the old Natal and Orange Free State provinces and the KwaZulu homeland) is lower than that of the Johannesburg office area (the old Transvaal province). There were far more vio- lations of human rights in the area covered by the Durban office, both absolutely and proportionally. As we shall see, the bulk of these violations occurred in the 1990–1994 period.1 Gross violations of human rights are: killings, torture, severe ill treatment and abduction. In addition, a number of violations were reported which did not fall into these categories. These were called ‘associated violations’ by the Commission. 2 See the appendix to the chapter on Methodology (in Volume One) which describes the information management system used by the Commission. 3 At the time of reporting, many cases had not been finalised by the Human Rights Violations Committee, either because deponents had been given an opportunity to provide more documentation, or because the cases are still under review. The complete list of findings will be finalised and published in a later volume. They have been included in this analysis for completeness.