20 years after the TRC: Are we any the better?Posted: 18 August, 2016 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Thabang Mokgatle | Tags: African Charter on Democracy, Amnesty Committee, apartheid, conflict, Constitutional Court of Uganda, Desmond Tutu, El Salvador, Human Rights Violations Committee, justice, Khulumani Support Group, maximalists, minimalists, Mpho Tutu, Patricia Campbell, peace, pragmatics, rainbow nation, reconciliation, Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee, retribution, rule of law, social intervention, South Africa, survivors, TRC, truth, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Tshepo Madlingozi, victims | 3 Comments
Author: Thabang Mokgatle
Candidate Attorney, Rushmere Noach Incorporated, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
“We are looking to maintain not retribution but reparation; we are seeking room for humanity rather than revenge”
– Desmond Tutu, First hearing of the TRC in April 1996
15 April 2016 marked the twentieth anniversary since the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) first commenced in South Africa. In reflecting on the occasion, the words of Desmond Tutu above quoted have unveiled two pertinent questions: Did post-apartheid South Africa, in 1996, require a moment for justice or for reconciliation? Would the pursuit of the former in the first instance, not have led to the achievement of the latter? There is a growing sense that in prioritising the ‘rainbow nation’, the TRC substantially undermined the realisation of justice (institutional justice through the court system). Victims of apartheid-era crimes have supposedly been short-changed, leaving much to be desired since the TRC first convened.