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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 71

25:54Before the break we saw what those who violated human rights stand to gain from the Truth Commission process. But certainly those who survived these violations and the families of those who did not are more important. The new democratic government, actually we as a nation, has a moral responsibility to provide reparation to those victims of human rights abuses. After all, it is through their suffering that we gained our freedom.Full Transcript and References
26:23With the birth of the Truth Commission last year a voice was finally given to the thousands of South Africans who’d been brutalized during the conflict of the apartheid years. For months people from every part of the country poured their hearts out before the TRC’s Human Rights Violations hearings. They told harrowing tales of pain, suffering, loss, murder, torture; but they also asked the Truth Commission for simple things to fill the cracks left by the past. From spectacles to wheelchairs, tomb stones to street names; help with medical bills and the truth about what had happened to their loved ones. Full Transcript
27:17Victims came in their hundreds to open their souls to the TRC and I believe we have then a responsibility as the TRC not to let those who opened their souls to us down.Full Transcript
27:36‘Ladies and gentlemen welcome to Port Elizabeth’ // We’ve just touched down here in the Eastern Cape where the Truth Commission held its first Human Rights Violations hearings in April last year. The Special Report team hopes to speak to some of the first victims who told their stories to the nation and the world. Like you, we also want to know what the Truth Commission has done for them in the past eighteen months.Full Transcript
28:05Ernest Singqokwana Malgas, a former executive member of Pebco, the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation appeared at the TRC’s first hearing in East London to relate his painful story of torture at the hands of the police. The Malgas couple have clearly had high expectations of the Truth Commission. They say they’re grateful to the Truth Commission for providing them with a new wheelchair, but claim there are many promises the TRC did not honour.Full Transcript and References
28:42They promised us everything. They promised us a medical assistant. They promised to help us with our financial… something like electricity, rent and other things and they promised us that they are going to look after our children, especially something like education. But they didn’t do anything about those promises. After we came from the Truth Commission my husband got worse and worse. He wasn’t like this when we went to the Truth Commission last year, but after they disappoint him he was getting worse and worse.Full Transcript
29:44Elizabeth Hashe also testified at the first hearing. // ‘I’m really frustrated about my situation. I don’t want to cry. Really I don’t want to cry, but I want the Commission to help me.’ // Her husband, Sipho was one of the Pebco Three who were abducted and murdered by the notorious Eastern Cape security police in May 1985. Their bodies were then thrown into the Fish River. Mrs. Hashe says if it had not been for the Truth and Reconciliation process she may never have discovered the one thing she’d wanted most, finally knowing what had happened to her husband’s remains. Full Transcript and References
30:30I wanted the truth. Now I’ve heard the truth. I’m so happy. Look at me today, because I heard what happened to him. I know he was fighting for the people of South Africa; he wanted to free the people in South Africa, because we were oppressed. Full Transcript
30:50There are many who say that the government has a special obligation to look after the families of activists and victims like Ernest Malgas and Sipho Hashe who fought for the liberation of this country. But the TRC’s Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee says the state has a moral obligation to compensate each and every South African who qualifies as a victim of a gross human rights violation. While human rights violations and amnesty hearings dominated the headlines in the past year and a half the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee has been putting together its final recommendations which were presented to the government last week. In an interview on Wednesday this week, TRC Commissioner Hlengiwe Mkhize said she hope the government will address the compensation of victims as a matter of urgency. Full Transcript
31:40If people are assisted financially over time with counselling and guidance it gives them an opportunity to improve their lot so to say, in a variety of ways. But I mean as I’ve said to you really we are there as advocates for victims. At the end of the day the government of the day has got to decide and has got to take responsibility. // How much money are we really talking about here? // You see, just looking at the statements, the projections, I don’t think we’re talking about anything less than three billion. So, we are really going to put it out there, and we just trust that the government will get sufficient support from the people of this country and international sources. But I suppose, for victims what will really be important is to see a government taking a stand and going all out making sure that the necessary resources are available. // If I understand you correctly what you are saying is that the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee, the Truth Commission, have ...moreFull Transcript and References
33:50Our policy has five components to it and we really would like people to see it within the context of those five components and not focus simply on the money, which I think what has been happening over the last eighteen months. // ‘Urgent Interim Relief’ // This is for people who can’t wait for the whole process to go through Parliament and be approved and they will receive immediate assistance. Those regulations are with the Department of Justice and we are hoping that by November, December this year we will be able to start assisting people in urgent need. // ‘Individual Reparation Grant R17 000 – R23 000 (over six years)’ // This obviously is a type of pension payment, which we hope will enable people to live a dignified life and to meet the needs which they have expressed, whether these be medical or educational or housing. So that they themselves can decide what their needs are and use this money to assist them to meet those needs. // ‘Symbolic reparation’ // The ...moreFull Transcript and References
36:13At a media conference in Cape Town on Thursday the TRC finally announced its R&R policy publicly. They’ve come up with a figure of R3 billion, based on a projection of 22 000 eligible victims. // First to make sure that those things do not happen again…Full Transcript
36:31‘The process of truth and reconciliation in South Africa has amounted to more than just words…’ // East Londoner Chappie Beling is disabled after being severely injured in an APLA attack on his local pub in 1993. He’s one of a handful of victims who hopes to get a lot more than R17 000 from the government. // I’m expecting to get three million from the government. // R 3M? That’s quite a lot of money. Why so much? // Because I’m 24 years old, I’m at the prime of my life and my life is buggered. I had taken 4 AK47 bullets, my hip was shattered, my arm is shot to pieces, my bowel was shot and my groin was shot to pieces. They’d cut half of my groin away, half of my bum was cut away and what have I got to look forward to in the future? Full Transcript and References
37:36In Pretoria Justice Minister Dullah Omar says the government is committed to delivering the goods to victims. // Amnesty looks after perpetrators of those terrible crimes we are talking about and for us to make provision for amnesty without taking into account the concerns; the pain, the suffering, the hardships that victims have gone through would be completely unacceptable. So, the TRC process is very much victim orientated in that respect. And so the Human Rights Violations Committee identifies victims, so does the Amnesty Committee. But having identified victims, it is for the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee to systematize the handling of all reparation and rehabilitation matters and make recommendations to government. It is very important because, unless we address the concerns of victims, we will not be able to heal the wounds of the past. It will continue to fester, the wounds will continue to fester and there will be no reconciliation in our country and that will make ...moreFull Transcript
40:41An unexpected source of revenue has been suggested by the Afrikaanse Handelsinstitituut [Afrikaans Chamber of Commerce]. They proposed that the TRC and the government fund the reparation and rehabilitation process by dipping into the billions of rands in the South African security risk insurance fund, also known as the SASRI fund. // The SASRI fund is about R9 billion strong and it was set up in the apartheid era to cover the risk of political riots and other insurance which could not be obtained in the market. I think it was never expected that there would be a surplus in this fund, but the premiums that came in far exceeded whatever payments were made out. And now this huge pool of funds has accumulated, it’s earning interest, every year it’s growing.Full Transcript and References
41:29We are desperately anxious that people will see that we do want for them to get something material, tangible. But I have to keep saying there is no way in which you could ever compensate anyone adequately for pain suffered by being tortured, for anguish experienced because a loved one was killed. No amount of money could ever do it, but I am sure that some money can begin to be part of the ointment that you pour on wounds. And I hope I mean that this thing will be seen in that light.Full Transcript
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