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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 238

Paragraph Numbers 130 to 135

Volume 5

Chapter 6

Subsection 19

■ THE LIBERATION MOVEMENTS

130 This section includes the Commission’s findings on the ANC, PAC, UDF and on ANC national executive member, Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

131 In reviewing the activities of the ANC and PAC, the Commission endorsed the position in international law that the policy of apartheid was a crime against humanity and that both the ANC and PAC were internationally recognised liberation movements conducting legitimate struggles against the former South African government and its policy of apartheid.

132 Nonetheless, as indicated previously, the Commission drew a distinction between a ‘just war’ and ‘just means’ and has found that in terms of international conventions, the ANC and its organs (the National Executive Council, the National Working Committee, the Revolutionary Council, the Secretariat and its armed wing, MK, as well as the PAC and its armed formations Poqo and APLA, committed gross violations of human rights in the course of their political activities and armed struggles, for which they are morally and politically accountable.

133 The Commission also wishes to note that the fact that the Commission makes a more detailed finding and comments more extensively on the ANC than on the PAC should not be interpreted as suggesting that the Commission finds it to have been more responsible for gross violations of human rights than the PAC. This is not the case. Instead, what it reflects is the far greater degree of openness to the Commission of the ANC than the PAC. The ANC made two full submissions to the Commission, answered its questions on the exile camps and made available to the Commission its various enquiry reports into alleged human rights abuses in exile. By contrast, the PAC offered very little by way of information on any of its activities, including exile abuses, and supplied no documentation.

134 The Commission has taken note that of the three main parties to the armed struggle – the state, the ANC and the PAC – only the ANC signed the Geneva Convention in regard to the conduct of wars of national liberation, and made the most conscious effort to conduct its armed struggle within the framework of international humanitarian law. While actions were undertaken which violated the ANC’s guidelines – and the Commission has made adverse findings on them – the Commission acknowledges that it was in general not ANC policy to target civilians. By contrast, the PAC consciously targeted certain categories of civilians, and whites in general, and the Commission has made findings in this regard.

135 The Commission acknowledges the comparative restraint with which the ANC conducted its armed struggle, at least in terms of its identification of targets, and the fact that the ANC leadership instructed its MK cadres to abandon the landmine campaign when it became clear that innocent civilians were being killed and hurt by it.

Findings on the African National Congress
Our conference itself will be remembered by our people as a council of war that planned the seizure of power by these masses, the penultimate convention that gave the order for us to take our country through the terrible but cleansing fires of revolutionary war to a condition of peace. (OR Tambo, Tambo Speaks.)
To the extent that the Motsuenyane Commission found that some detainees were maltreated and recommended that the ANC should apologise for these violations of their human rights, the ANC does so without qualification, within the context of the standards it sets for itself – standards it wishes our country to attain and maintain, now and in the future. (First ANC first submission to the Commission.)
‘The political and operational leadership of the movement is ready to accept collective responsibility for all operations of its properly constituted offensive structures, including operations … that might have been outside of the established norms. (Mr Thabo Mbeki, Ibid.)
 
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