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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 439
Paragraph Numbers 305 to 311
Suspension of the armed struggle
305. After the lifting of the banning orders on the liberation movements on 2 February 1990, the PAC adopted a different strategic position to that of the ANC. While the ANC engaged almost immediately in ‘talks about talks’ with government representatives, the PAC told the Commission that it adopted a principled approach to negotiations and believed that ‘one must negotiate from a position of strength’.
306. Its continuation of armed struggle – reaffirmed by the PA C ’s national conference as late as December 1993 – was, however, an issue of contention within the organisation. Amnesty applicant Bongani Malevu [AM0293/96], who attended the c o n f e rence, testified before the Amnesty Committee that the resolution on the armed struggle did not receive unanimous agreement. There was a split between those who felt that the struggle should continue and those who were opposed to armed attacks continuing during the run-up to the elections in April 1994.
307. In his January 1994 New Year ’s message, and with the election only months away, APLA commander Sabelo Phama declared 1994 as the year of the ‘great offensive on all fronts’ and said that ‘the bullet and the ballot’ were to be used effectively in 1994. Mr Phama stated that political power without military and economic power would be meaningless and that APLA should double its efforts both politically and on the military front .
308. When shortly thereafter (on 16 January 1994), the PAC leadership announced a suspension of its armed struggle and a wish to participate in the negotiations for the new dispensation and in the pending general election, rebellion broke out inside the organisation. The PA C ’s central Transkei secretary, Mr Mfanelo Skwatsha, called the leadership’s decision a ‘surrender ’ .
Perspectives of the survivors
309. For the most part, the survivors of the attacks opposed the applications for amnesty on the grounds that the acts themselves were not ‘political’ in character, but were motivated rather by personal interests and, in some cases, by racial hatred. Some victims appeared before the Amnesty Committee to make their case. Others declined to give testimony and stated that they were happy to leave matters in the hands of the Committee. Several victims and members of victims’ families declined to attend the hearings or to be involved in the amnesty process in any way. In a few instances, particularly those that involved high-profile attacks on civilians, survivors and victims chose to use the opportunity offered by hearings to challenge applicants directly and to ask them to account for what appeared to be errors of judgement, particularly in the selection of targets.
310. On the whole, applicants refused to apologise for attacks and lives lost, particularly where the victims had been members of the police or of white political organisations, white civilians or white farmers. Yet many expressed remorse for the consequences of their actions, and the desire to be reconciled with the surviving victims of attacks or the families of deceased victims.
311. The Commission gave due attention to the response of the PAC to the findings of the Human Rights Violations Committee. However, the Commission is of the view that the evidence that has emerged through the amnesty process has done nothing to cause the Commission to change or moderate these findings in any way. On the contrary, on completion of the work of the Amnesty Committee, the Commission is able to confirm these findings, particularly those with regard to the activities of the PAC and APLA during the 1990s.214214 See Section 5, ‘ Findings and Recommendations’ in this volume.