25 February 1999
NATIONAL RESPONSE TO TRC REPORT (Subject for Discussion)
The members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 14:06.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation to reflect on the subject the Joint Sitting was about to debate and to recall and consider the suffering our nation had endured.
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, the publication of the report of the TRC last year was a seminal event in our country's transition to democracy. Immediately on receiving the report from the TRC, the President handed it over to the Presiding Officers of Parliament, thereby acknowledging the pivotal role that Parliament must play in taking the next steps in addressing the report and its recommendations.
The Presiding Officers, acting jointly under Joint Rule 2. have now called this Joint Sitting. The President has agreed to come and open the debate on the "National response to the Report of the TRC of South Africa".
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Speaker. Chairperson of the NCOP, hon members and delegates, the debate on which we are embarking is not just for the allocated period set aside today, nor is it only for us gathered together in this hallowed Chamber of democracy as the nations elected representatives.
The forging of a common understanding of our history and the reconciliation of our people are goals which can only be reached by a collective and protracted effort of our whole nation. The best way of achieving these goals is therefore also a matte for the broadest possible debate amongst South Africans and even further afield. Above all. the TRC interim report is a call to action, and as we put our thoughts together on the challenges ahead we need to remind ourselves that the cost o. reconciliation was the fundamental objective of the public will of the people and to build a South Africa which indeed, belongs to all.
The quest for reconciliation was the spur that gave life to our difficult negotiations process and the agreements that emerged from it. The search for a nation at peace with itself is the primary motivation for our Reconstruction and Development Programme to build a better life for all.
The challenge we face in taking the TRC process forward is to focus in particular on the special additional measures that we need to undertake to reach the ideal of reconciliation.
Some four months have passed since the TRC the submitted its interim report to the President and the nation. Although the TRCs work and its reporting will be completed only with the conclusion of the amnesty process, it is right that we should now initiate the national debate on reconciliation and nation-building.
It is appropriate too that our nations elected representatives should be given this task during the closing weeks of our country's first democratic Parliament. This Parliament represents a break from our apartheid past, and its challenge was to lay the foundation for greater speed in realising our shared vision of a better life for all South Africans.
As we speak today, we will therefore all of us be conscious of the historic responsibility upon us, as we begin the national consultation on reconciliation. The experience of others has taught that nations which do not deal with their past are haunted by it for generations.
It would be well to underline at the outset that reconciliation touches upon virtually every facet of our life as a nation. The TRC is an important component in that process, and its work is a critical milestone in a journey that has just started. We say this advisedly, for South Africans cannot abdicate their responsibility for reconciliation by shifting it to the TRC or gloating at its perceived weaknesses, nor can the task of reconciliation be confined to narrow legalese.
Long after the commission has folded and its offices been closed, political leaders and all of us in business the trade union movement, religious bodies, professions and communities in general still have to remain seized with the matters that the TRC process brought to the fore. Inasmuch as reconciliation touches on every aspect of our lives. it is our nations lifeline.
As I noted when addressing Parliament three weeks ago. reflecting on the first steps. 10 years ago. towards our negotiated transition, reconciliation requires the dismantling of apartheid and the measures that reinforced it. It requires that we overcome the consequences of that inhuman system which live on in our attitudes towards one another and in the poverty and inequality that face the lives of millions.
As we reached out across the divisions of centuries to establish democracy, we need now to work together in all our diversity, including the diversity of our experience and recollection of our history, in order to overcome the divisions themselves and eradicate their consequences.
Reconciliation is central to that vision which moved millions of men and women to risk all, including their lives, in the struggle against apartheid and white domination. It is inseparable from the achievement of a non racial, democratic and united nation affording common citizenship. rights and obligations to each and every person, and respecting the rich diversity of our people.
Such were the wounds and the polarisation caused by apartheid and the conflict which it generated, such was our yearning for peace, and such the balance of forces in our settlement that reconciliation demanded a uniquely South African instrument to help us to start dealing with our past.
And so it was that our negotiated interim Constitution set the scene for this first democratic Parliament to provide for that instrument in the form of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I would like once again to record our appreciation of the commission. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, his fellow commissioners, their staff and field workers for the service they have rendered [Applause] to the country and for the continuing work of the Amnesty Committee. Their dedication to a general difficult and painful task has helped us through a historic stage in our journey towards a better society.
They made it possible for tens of thousands of South Africans to make known the inhumanities they had three endured. They made it possible for others to disclose their part in inflicting or acquiescing in those inhumanities by acts of commission or omission.
To all the men and women who helped the commission in these ways, we owe a debt of gratitude for their courage and honesty. They have helped us begin to change from what we were towards the nation we aspire to be. For all these reasons I had no hesitation in accepting the report of the TRC presented to me in October last year with all its imperfections.
It was inevitable that a task of such magnitude, done in so short a time, and so early in a process that will still take many years to accomplish would suffer various limitations. Indeed, the report itself highlights many of these.
It was also inevitable, given the nature of the divisions that do still run through our society and the freshness of the wounds still to be healed, that the judgements of such a body would jar with how some or others of us see matters.
As we anticipated, when the report was handed over in October, questions arose about an artificial caused even-handedness that seemed to place those fighting a just war alongside those whom they opposed and who defended an inhuman system. Further still, the practical consequences of the compromise that gave birth to the amnesty process, as an instrument of peaceful transition, are painful to many of the victims of human rights violations and their families.
Many who lost loved ones or who lived through terror that seemed incomprehensible in its cynical inhumanity will wonder at what seems to be the dismissal of the existence of a third force: the fact of the existence of a deliberate strategy and programme by the powers that be, as they then were, to foment violence among the oppressed, and to arm and lead groups that sowed death and destruction before and especially after 1990
No less inevitable, many have identified failures and mistakes in the report and the process leading to its release. The reservations and criticisms expressed by various parties and individuals and the court challenges testify to this.
As they contemplate the proceedings of the TRC, some will wonder how it was that the amnesty applications of political prisoners did not receive priority, as required by the Act. Others will wonder whether all those who could throw light on the violations of the past were pursued with equal vigour to yield their knowledge to the public through the TRC.
Questions have also been raised regarding the impartiality or otherwise of the commission, and some have sought to find in the work of this body a witch-hunt against a specific language group.
It is not my task to pronounce upon all these issues. and some of them will, no doubt, appear in a different light when the TRC gives a more complete account after the amnesty process has been completed.
It will be for the national debate we are starting here today to come to a resolution where this is possible. In many cases it will require a process of many years that will call on the contributions of religious leaders, poets and artists as much as those of politicians, academics and investigators. But there are also matters of principle that require a shared commitment without which reconciliation would be a pipe dream.
As we approach this debate, and as we prepare to act upon the report, we would do well to remind ourselves also of those limitations in the report of the TRC which arose from obstacles which we, as a nation, placed in the way of it's discharging its task of helping us towards truth, reconciliation and unity.
In particular, we should take note of the difficulties it faced as a result of what it saw as a lack of response to the spirit of generosity and reconciliation embodied in the establishment of the commission on the part of those who were part of, benefited from or acquiesced in the apartheid state.
We note this not out of any vindictive spirit of pointing fingers. We note it because the success of reconciliation and nation building will depend on all sectors of our society, recognising with the world, as did the TRC, that apartheid was a crime against humanity whose vile deeds transcended our borders and sowed seeds of destruction whose harvest we continue to reap today. About this there can be no equivocation, for it is this recognition that lies at the very heart of the national pact in our new Constitution, and our new democracy and the culture of human rights that we are building together.
For all its limitations, the TRC has performed a monumental task in helping our nation towards this understanding. Indeed, in so far as our Constitution and bill of fundamental rights embodies our nations conception of humanity, no other finding was possible upon a system which sought to deny us all our common humanity and to divide us, one from another, and set us against each other.
It would be right on this occasion to record our appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of our country, for the contribution which countless South Africans have made to end the apartheid system and to bring to our country freedom and the possibility of realising, in full measure, the values inscribed in our new Constitution.
We recognise today the many men, women and children who sacrificed freedom, and even life itself, who have been left with disabilities, who have lost families. We think of the suffering of communities and the trauma of the nation as a whole. We reflect on the scars that all South Africans carry, marking the damage inflicted by a violent and inhumane system.
We think of those whom apartheid sought to imprison in the jails of hate and fear, those whom it infused with a false doctrine of superiority to justify their inhumanity to others. But we think too of those whom it conscripted or encouraged into machines of destruction, exacting a heavy toll among them in life and limb and in a warped disregard for life and the trauma that goes with it.
We think of the millions of South Africans who live in poverty because of apartheid, disadvantaged and excluded from opportunities by the discrimination of the past. We recall our terrible past so that we can deal with it. to forgive where forgiveness is necessary without forgetting, to ensure that never again will such inhumanity tear us apart, and to move ourselves to eradicate a legacy that lurks dangerously as a threat to our democracy
It is against that background that we turn to the recommendations which the TRC makes in its report to the nation. Because the effects of the past are so profound and far-reaching, there is a large number of recommendations to address these. This occasion allows a look at only some of the major ones.
The first set of recommendations for promoting reconciliation focuses on building a strong human rights culture in order to prevent gross human rights violations in the future.
In this regard we should take pride in our new Constitution and the culture of openness and accountability that has become the trademark of our new society, and we should here today recommit ourselves to these values and to practical action to promote human rights among all citizens and to protect the institutions charged by our Constitution with this important responsibility.
The TRCs recommendation that our programmes of socio economic change, investment in people and the creation of employment be accelerated echoes our own view that a strong human rights culture is rooted in the material conditions of our lives, and that none of us can enjoy lasting peace, human rights and security while a part of our nation lives in poverty.
The TRC's call for a specific partnership of Government and the private sector for job creation and training is partly embodied in the outcome of the Jobs Summit, as is the call for a contribution by those who benefited from apartheid towards the alleviation of poverty.
The call for the establishment of a scheme to facilitate such a contribution merits further exploration It has been my experience, when I have made personal calls to business leaders to share their resources with the disadvantaged, that they have never hesitated. There are many communities across our land which have access to health and educational facilities because of such assistance. But measured against the potential and against what is needed, the examples point to how much more could be done.
The TRC issues a call, which we strongly endorse for a recommitment in both public and private sectors, with renewed vigour, to the transformation of our structures and corporations through a combination of affirmative action and employment equity together with the strengthening of a culture of hard work efficiency and honesty.
As part of these challenges, we also should recommit ourselves to a concerted fight against crime and corruption, by joining together as communities and law-enforcement agencies to bring safety and security to our homes, streets and workplaces.
Secondly, the TRC raises the issue of accountability and prosecution where there is evidence of human rights violations, and in particular in the case of members of the former South African Police who are found to have assaulted and/or killed persons in their care.
Accountability does need to be established, and where evidence exists of a serious crime. prosecution should be instituted within a fixed timeframe. That timeframe needs to be realistic, taking into account how long it takes for evidence to be secured and for preparations to be made for successful prosecution. Yet a timeframe for this process is necessary, for we cannot afford, as a , nation and Government, to be saddled with unending judicial processes which can easily bog down our current efforts to resolve problems of the present.
These matters will, of course, be handled by the Office of the National Director of Prosecutions. And we believe that in discharging this responsibility, the director will take into account not only the critical need to establish accountability and the rule of law, but also the need to advance to reconciliation and the long-term interests of our country. It is in this spirit, too, that the matter of extradition will need to be handled.
In this context, it will also be necessary to further examine the question of the TRC Act as it pertain to organisations and institutions which were involved in the conflict of the past. It seems to us an omission on our part, as legislators, that while individuals are accommodated, the process leave: open the possibility of endless litigation against the new democratic government, as well as structures that were involved in this conflict. We hope that these matters will receive the attention of the Amnesty Committee as it wraps up its work.
But let us reiterate that we are not contemplating a general amnesty under any guise. [Applause.] Such an approach would go against the grain of the very process that we have all agreed upon. It would undermine the culture of accountability that we seek to engender.
Thirdly, the TRC advances recommendations concerned with healing and rehabilitation.
We should use this occasion to share the TRC's recognition of the role played by non governmental organisations in assisting victims and survivors. We will continue to count on their help, and we shall do what we can within our means, to provide the services which the TRC finds necessary to facilitate: healing and rehabilitation.
We should not underestimate the difficulties of reintegrating into communities those who have committed gross violations of human rights, or those accused of being informers and collaborators. But we have many examples of great generosity and nobility on the part of communities to encourage us. Such instances are a reproach to. those who sought amnesty without remorse, but they will also be an inspiration to others in this difficult and sensitive task.
Related to this, questions have also arisen about the continued propagation and analysis of the results of the TRCs work. There is also no doubt that further research and follow-up will be necessary to lake forward specific cases and the general thrust of the search for the truth. Our view on this mailer is that if this were indeed to be formally undertaken, it should be a collective decision of the public representatives of the nation
Fourthly, and lastly, coupled with rehabilitation there is the matter of reparation. We should commend the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee for its work and for the policy document it has published to assist us in finding the way forward. Its recommendations are broadly acceptable to the Government. Already, urgent interim reparation has been paid to individual victims identified by the TRC, and the funds have been set aside for this purpose in the Budget.
But we are all fully aware that such reparation can only be symbolic rather than proportional to the suffering and sacrifice. The best reparation for the suffering of victims and communities, and the highest recognition of their efforts, is the transformation of our society into one which makes a living reality of the human rights for which they struggled.
Having said this, the Government is firmly of the view that, to the extent that resources allow, individual reparation grants should continue to be made to identified surviving families and victims. Clearly, the mobilisation of such resources for reparation, individual and collective, will require the partnership of the private sector and civil society with the Government.
The various proposals from the committee on how to do this. and in particular how a special contribution can be made by those who have the resources to do so as a result of the past, will need further examination. So does the recommendation that a structure with a fixed life span should be established to oversee the implementation of reparation and rehabilitation initiatives.
One outstanding matter that should receive special attention is that of expediting the process of exhumations and burials. Among, the many contributions of the TRC, the recovery of the remains of victims and their return to family and community for proper reburial have been profound in their contribution to healing and knowledge of the past. [Applause.] While the limitations of this with regard to those buried outside the country are widely recognised, this should not detract from our responsibility to find ways of recognising and acknowledging them in a manner that will bring succour, not only to their families and relatives, but also to a nation reaping the fruits of their tireless labour.
The building of monuments and memorials to those who gave their lives as part of the reconstruction and development of our society will rightly seize the creativity of our people.
The shaping of these recommendations into practical programmes of action will require the work of every sector of Government and society. The TRC therefore makes a number of specific recommendations with regard to Government departments and structures of civil society for addressing the legacies of our past. In doing so, it urges special sensitivity towards the needs of those sectors of our society - children and women - on whom the past had the greatest impact, something that is strongly written into all our policies.
It will be important to ensure that the many and varied recommendations of the TRC lead to action that is effective and co-ordinated, as well as consistent with programmes already in place for the reconstruction of our society. This applies not only to Government's responsibility to society, nor just to the partnerships that we referred to earlier. Indeed, the TRC interim report raises many critical questions about such independent institutions as the media and the judiciary. We hope not only that within these bodies the lessons of that experience are internalised, but also that visible steps are taken to ensure that they establish and consolidate the credibility necessary for these institutions to function as a critical part of our democracy.
We have raised some of these issues only as a small contribution to the debate that should unfold over many years within our nation. But the critical moment when we can translate most of the TRC recommendations into practical programmes will be at the national summit on reconciliation that the TRC itself has proposed. I believe that it will be one of the immediate challenges of the new government to convene such a summit. But it is a summit that should be preceded by the widest possible consultation so that it emerges with concrete programmes rather than pious declarations.
We know too keenly that no debate can ever capture the emotions that were laid hare in a process that launched our nations catharsis. Captured in halls through the length and breadth of the country and beside the unmarked graves of fallen heroes was the resilience of the human spirit of South Africa's people. The tears shed and the voices choking with emotion reminded us once more that the freedom we have gained we should never take for granted. [Applause.]
The injunction from that process and from the people of South Africa is that we should forgive, but not forget. [Applause.] It is that leaders should emerge from all parties and all walks of life to build the nation on the basis of hope for a future that we should create together.
I personally wish to pledge to you and to the nation that I will. at all times, be at your service to the best of my ability, to contribute to the maturing of the small human miracle that South Africans conceived by their collective efforts. [Applause.]
The EXECUTIVE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, the President of the Republic, Nelson Mandela, hon members of Parliament. visitors and compatriots, the defining parameter in our continuing struggle for national unity and reconciliation is a question of race. For many years to come, we will be able to measure the distance we have travelled towards the accomplishment of these objectives by the degree to which we have succeeded in closing the great racial divides which continue to separate our communities.
At Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a few kilometres to our east, there are the remains of a 340-year-old almond-and-thornbush hedge. Planted by Jan van Riebeeck, this thorn hedge was intended to ensure the safety of the newly arrived white European settlers by keeping the menacing black African hordes of pagan primitives at bay. Black and white had to be kept apart, circumscribed by an equation which described each as the enemy and the antithesis of the other.
At first it was thought that the thorns of the almond-and-thornbush hedge would suffice as ramparts to protect the enclave of civilisation perched precariously at the Cape of Good Hope, and advance the purposes of the then temporary sojourners. Later, guns and wars of subjugation became the most reliable means in the hands of the settlers. Later still, it became impossible to continue the civilising mission except through the enslavement of the people, their deliberate impoverishment and subjection to the pass laws, the whip, the gallows and cheap labour.
In the end, the temporary sojourners of the Cape of Good Hope transmuted themselves into permanent citizens while transforming the native masses into temporary sojourners in the greater part of our country. [Applause.]
The almond hedge now surrounded the native reserves which even we were persuaded to describe as our homelands. Together with the thorns of the hedge, there were the prisons, the bannings and the banishment, the torture, the assassinations, the massacres, the weapons of mass destruction and the sustained propaganda and indoctrination.
Today the line marked out by Jan van Riebeeck for the construction of his Great Wall of China is a railway line. a no-mans land, a cordon sanitaire. a railway line which separates the black from the white in this historic city of our country. Out of it all were born the programmed killers who have spoken and will speak to the Amnesty Committee of the TRC of the terrible things they did to ensure the safety of the proverbial enclave of European civilisation perched precariously at the Cape of Good Hope.
Speaking of the African people he found in the Cape. in 1609 the Dutchman. Cornelis van Purmderend said: "In a word. a beast-like people." A year later the Frenchman. De Laval. Added: They eat… as do dogs...they live... like animals.
Not to he outdone, in 1612 the Englishman. Ralph Standish, said:
Yet is a great pity that such creatures as they be should enjoy so sweet a country.
At the end of the first ever military conflict of 1659 between the indigenous people and the European settlers. Jan van Riebeeck told the defeated Khoi commanders who fought to recover their occupied land that the country had now been -….justly won by the sword in defensive warfare, and it is our intention to retain it.
What had been expropriated by the sword had to be retained by the sword. It is this reality of a state founded on conquest, that had to be retained by the same means with which it was conquered, which led, inevitably, to the gross violations of human rights which constituted the heart of the work of the TRC.
An illegitimate state was imposed on the majority of the people and such legal framework as it established was a legalisation, the codification of a system of injustice which the international community justly declared a crime against humanity.
Based on the understanding that it was a great pity that such creatures as we are should enjoy so sweet a country, as the Englishman put it at the beginning of the 17th Century, the only imperative driving those who thought that they should enjoy so sweet a country was that they had a moral right to use any means in their fight for the defence of what they considered to be exclusively their own. In such a situation, morality has no place. Greed and self-interest become the justification, the legitimisation of any action taken by those who see themselves as the defenders of what Jan van Riebeeck described as having been justly won by the sword. The matters we raise are fundamental to what we will do as a country to advance towards national unity and reconciliation. Any attempt to insulate or isolate the more narrowly defined work of the TRC' from this larger setting, will inevitably defeat the very purposes for which the TRC was established.
Accordingly, we put this forward as a matter that must be dealt with in the context of the national debate for which President Mandela has called, namely the elaboration of a national programme of action to end the racial fragmentation of our country which gave birth to the conflict which the TRC was mandated to investigate. This proposition may not sit comfortably with some among us who always feel a great sense of uneasiness whenever we refer to the incontestable fact that, in many respects, ours still remains an apartheid society. Nevertheless, it can never be our approach that the best way to deal with any problem is to pretend that it does not exist. [Applause.)
The ANC called for and pioneered the establishment of the TRC, in a serious effort to ensure that the political conflicts of the past do not become a major obstacle to our common efforts to create a nonracial and nonsexist democracy committed to creating a better life for all within a society guided in its development by the important concepts of national unity and reconciliation.
Perhaps the predominant question we all have to answer as we conduct our discussion on the TRC and its outcome to date is whether, as a result of the work of the TRC, we are closer to the achievement of the goals of national unity and reconciliation.
The ANC would like to take this opportunity to salute the TRC for the work it has done in various areas. These include the discovery and exposure of the truth with regard to many instances of gross violations of human rights; the tracing of missing persons, including their graves: the encouragement of reconciliation between perpetrators and victim; of violations of human rights; the cultivation of a spirit of remorse among those who did wrong; and the identification of some of the people who are entitled to receive reparation.
We would also like to acknowledge the effort that went into the elaboration of proposals intended to build on the TRC process, as we all continue the struggle for national unity and reconciliation Clearly many of these recommendations would form part of the agenda of the follow-up national summit on reconciliation proposed by the TRC These outcomes of the TRC process to date are clearly an important contribution to the overall national task of unity and reconciliation.
However, there are other elements of the TRC report and process about which we have to enter serious reservations, without detracting from the positive work which the commission has done.
In his minority report. Commissioner Wynand Malan makes some disturbing comments about the manner in which the report was processed and adopted. He says, in part, that-..it became clearly in plenary sessions for the adoption of the report that the discussions were based on the drafts, and the limited time for such discussion precluded any structural or philosophical change even though the commissioners had serious reservations on some of (the drafts) …I proposed a delay in finalising the report, with some support but ultimately without success. Publication will lead to some reaction that we might have been n able to avoid.
We, like others, had sought to meet the TRC to respond to its findings against the ANC. As the country is aware, the TRC decided, for reasons we still do not know to this day, not to meet us. An the appeal to the courts to assist in this matter resulted in unfortunate and gratuitous insults being levelled about freedom fighters becoming tomorrow's tyrants. In finding against our application, the court itself raised the same matter that Commissioner Wynand Malan referred to with regard to structural and philosophical change, and said:
It is abundantly clear from the content of the representations that they were not simply an attempt to correct minor details in the TRC’s contemplated findings. Anything short of full consideration by the TRC of the ANC's representations would not have been adequate or proper. I am therefore satisfied in the circumstances that it would not have been reasonable to expect the TRC and its member; to read the representations and consider them properly and adequately in the time available to them between 19 and 29 October 1998.
We too. as a last resort, had proposed a delay, so that in the words of the judge, full, adequate and proper consideration could be given to our representations, but this was denied.
What we had sought to discuss with the TRC pertained to such obviously important matters as the definition of the concept of gross violations o the human rights in the context of a war situation and other issues relating to war and peace and the human conduct of warfare.
One of the central matters at issue was, and remains, the erroneous determination of various actions of our liberation movement as gross violations of human rights, including the general implication that any and all military activity which results in the loss of civilian lives constitutes a gross violation of human rights.
The net effect of these findings is to delegitimise or criminalise a significant part of the struggle of our people for liberation and to detract from the commitment made in our Constitution to honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land. Indeed it could also be said that the erroneous logic followed by the TRC, which was contrary even to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols governing the conduct of warfare, would result in the characterisation of all irregular wars of liberation as tantamount to a gross violation of human rights. We cannot accept such a conclusion, nor will the millions of people who joined in the struggle to end the system of apartheid. [Applause.]
National unity and reconciliation in our country cannot be based on the denunciation of important parts of our struggle, which were themselves firmly based on the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, as gross violations of human rights. Further to this, the findings of the TRC show a serious deficiency with regard to understanding the origins and purposes of the violence which claimed so many lives in the period since 1990.
The Commission itself says. and I quote:
In particular, the commission failed to make significant breakthroughs in relation to violence in the 1990's. Few entry points for the investigation were opened up and a great deal of further investigation is required.
And yet. despite the claim that "few entry points for the investigation were opened up", the commission. among other things, makes the bold assertion:
….the success of' Third Force attempts to generate violence was. at least in part. a consequence of extremely high levels of political intolerance for which both the liberation movements and other structures such as the IFP. are held to be morally and politically accountable.
What remains is but a short step to arrive at a conclusion about spontaneous so-called 'black-on- black' violence which was such an important weapon in the propaganda armoury of our opponents.
This is in spite of the fact that the commission itself produced evidence of how the apartheid security forces encouraged so-called 'black-on-black' violence as in the case of Mzwandile Maqina who, I quote, "colluded with members of the SADF and the SAP", while posing as a genuine member of Azapo.
The issue of the so-called Witdoeke in the Western Cape also vividly illustrates what was done by the apartheid security forces to set the black oppressed one against the other. Elsewhere in its report the TRC says, for example, and I quote:
Evidence before the Goldstone Commission revealed that Phola Park's SDU member Michael Phama was a police informer and had been instrumental in planning and carrying out the attack on IFP supporters on 8 September 1991 in which 18 IFP supporters were killed.
Beyond this, however, is a related matter that the commission did not deal with adequately, namely the unravelling of the National Security Management System, including its structures and the personnel within its structures, down to the local level.
We raised this matter with the commission on more than one occasion, not for the sake of the compilation of an historical record, but because these are precisely the structures and people that were used to foment the post-1990 violence. If these structures are not exposed, they remain available to those in our country who have not given up the idea of destabilising our society through violent means. [Applause
We hope that the Amnesty Committee will work to remedy this serious defect by putting together the information that is accumulating during its own hearings so that we can, as an important part of ensuring the stability of the new South Africa, finally wind down structures that have been established to perpetuate the apartheid system by violent means.
It is sometimes said that it is difficult to find anybody in our country these days who supported apartheid. [Interjections.) [Applause.) Those who were not activists within the broad liberation movement claim that they did what they could to oppose the system within the constraints imposed by the law.
Elements of this attitude are reported upon by the commission, which, for instance, states:
The business sector failed in the hearings to take responsibility for its involvement in state security initiatives specifically designed to sustain apartheid rule.
The commission also states:
It rejects the argument made. particularly by judges, of their impotence in the face of the exercise of legislative power by a sovereign parliament.
On the media the commission notes:
The mainstream newspapers reacted to legal curbs with a policy of appeasement. They did not defy the laws, but, they claim, tried to exploit loopholes and find ways to beat the system.
To his everlasting credit and honour, the then Judge President of the Cape High Court, Gerald Friedman, was one of the few judges to respond to the request of the commission to make a submission. In his presentation he expressed his agreement with comments made by Mr Justice Richard Goldstone in which the latter said:
In my opinion, a judge may freely speak in court on any topic strictly relevant to the matter before him. If appropriate, he is entitled to criticise the law he is required to implement if, in his opinion, it offends against morality or justice. Indeed, in some cases it may be his duty to do so.
What happened instead, say Judges Goldstone and Friedman, was:
The great majority of our judges applied such discriminatory laws based on racial criteria without commenting on their moral turpitude.
Mr Justice Friedman also goes on to say that with regard to the role of the judiciary in applying security legislation:
It must be acknowledged that by and large prior to 1990, the judiciary's record was indefensible. To sum up. the courts' record as an upholder of the rights of the individual in the application of security legislation cannot, with obvious exceptions, be defended.
In the end, the point we are making is that the argument advanced by some. in self-justification, that there were laws which, because they were on the Statute Book, had to be obeyed regardless of the fact that they were unjust and oppressive has to be rejected.
Each one of us has a right and duty to rebel against tyranny. Beyond a certain point, each one of us has a moral responsibility to refuse to obey orders and injunctions that perpetuate a crime against humanity.
In 1964 an English judge and jury heard a defamation case brought against Leon Uris, the author of the book Exodus, by a Dr Dering, who had been an inmate at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where, on the instructions of the Nazi authorities, he carried out medical experiments on human beings.
Dr Dering sued for damages because he claimed that he had been defamed by being presented in a the book as having carried out his operations with callousness and brutality. The jury found in his favour and awarded him damages of "the smallest coin in the realm", half a penny, while the court awarded costs against him, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds. In his summing up, Mr Justice Lawton said, among other things:
The jury should try to imagine what agony of mind those young men and women must have gone through, to have a testicle removed when one was 16 or 18 or to have ones ovaries removed if one was a young girl!
In the end, in a Solomonic judgment, the court ruled that whereas there might have been some exaggeration of the callousness of Dr Dering, the most outstanding issue in the matter was that Dr Dering had betrayed his personal responsibility to refuse to participate in medical experiments that were inherently criminal and inhumane, however gently they might have been carried out. The fact that Dr Dering was an inmate in a concentration camp was no excuse, just as it was no excuse that there was an all-powerful apartheid slate. [Applause.]
In their book Reconciliation Through Truth, Kader and Louise Asmal and Suresh Roberts make the point:
Reconciliation requires an acknowledgement of wrongs committed and a re-evaluation by their perpetrators of the morality which lay behind them. Only then can reconciliation trigger real catharsis, a word which, in its original Greek meaning, contains the ideas of purification and spiritual renewal. Reconciliation, accurately conceived, must bring about a rupture with the skewed ethics of apartheid, and so upset any possibility of smooth sailing on a previously immoral course.
A question critical to the success of the great struggle to achieve national unity and reconciliation that must be answered is whether those who benefited from apartheid are ready and willing to trigger such real catharsis as their honest contribution to the victory of that struggle.
The famous Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko begins one of his most famous poems against anti- Jewish pogroms with the words: "No sculptured stone stands over Babi Yar!" No sculptured stone stands over Crossroads or Hammarsdale, nor over Sebokeng, Soweto or Athlone.
The great masses who engaged in a superhuman effort to rid themselves of tyrannical rule, their heroes and heroines who gave up everything for freedom, remain unsung. Clearly, something must be done to correct this grievous wrong. [Applause.]
It is for this reason that surely all of us must agree that reparation will be offered to those who fought for freedom by ensuring that monuments are built to pay tribute to these to whom we owe our liberty.
There was no grosser violation of human rights than apartheid itself. Countless communities across our country lie devastated by the consequences of centuries of racial injustice.
As reparation to these millions, we must, as a people, stand firm on our commitment to the reconstruction and development of our country, to the redistribution of its resources and opportunities, to the upliftment of those who were defined as fit only to live beyond the almond hedge, beyond the railway line.
To discharge this urgent responsibility, we must all join our efforts and pool our resources, as is happening in the context of the challenge of job creation. We must, together, generate the means whose use will firmly and practically convey the message that all of us, both black and white, are ready and willing to provide reparations to entire communities, by helping to pull them out of the wretched conditions which are the product of a gross and sustained violation of their rights as human beings.
As visualised in the Act and as recommended by the TRC, we must also attend to the matter of individual reparations, in the form of both cash and the provision of services. There are many people who were banned and their dignity denied during the course of the conflict which the TRC was mandated to investigate. We must respond to their plight as a central part of our quest for national unity and reconciliation.
We must, however, also make the point that no genuine fighter for the liberation of our people ever engaged in struggle for personal gain. There are many who laid down their lives, many who lost their limbs, many who are today disabled and many who spent their best years in apartheid prisons, and some of them are in this room, both downstairs and upstairs. None of them expected a reward except freedom itself. [Applause.] We must not insult them and demean the heroic contribution they made to our emancipation by turning them into mercenaries whose sacrifices we can compensate with money. Very many among these have not asked for any money, because their own sense of the dignity of the freedom fight leads them to say that there is no cash value that should be attached to their desire to serve the people of South Africa and all humanity. [Applause.]
Due attention will also have to be given to the many heroes and heroines who lie in many graves both inside and outside the country. Where the bodies will not be exhumed and reburied, we nevertheless owe it both to those who lost their lives and to their relatives to ensure that the graves of the fallen combatants for freedom are properly maintained and honoured.
The Amnesty Committee has not yet concluded its work. It is therefore difficult to estimate the volume of cases that will remain unaddressed when it does. Nevertheless it seems important that we should all agree that. whatever happens, we should never entertain the idea of a general amnesty. At the same time, serious consideration will have to be given to ensuring that we do not allow ourselves to be drawn into a situation of conflict as a result of the political crimes of the past. Among others, we will all have to discuss such proposals as have been made on this matter with regard to KwaZulu-Natal and others put forward by the former generals of the SADF, who have themselves reconfirmed their loyalty to the country and its Constitution, as well as their commitment to peace and stability in our country and region.
The quest for national unity and reconciliation is fundamental to our emergence as a nation at peace with itself. What we have done has amazed and inspired many across the world. We owe that international community, including the countries of our region which were victims of apartheid aggression and destabilisation, our own contribution to the common effort to build a better world for all.
It remains for us to build on the progress we have made: in fact, to create an equitable society, to banish the antagonisms of the past, to create a new national identity in which all of us will draw pride and strength from the great variety of our colours. cultures, languages and religions, as a result of which all of us should say, "Yesterday was a foreign country," as young Afrikaners were happy to proclaim. As yet another stepping stone to that glorious future, surely all of us - political parties. legislatures, organs of state and organisations of civil society - should commit ourselves to a common statement and programme of action to oppose all violations of human rights.
Our collective and burning desire not to repeat the past must find expression in the greatest mass movement our country has ever seen, for the removal of the almond hedges that deform the lace of our country, for the defence of freedom and for the advancement of human dignity.
A beginning has been made. Like all beginnings. ours is also a prayer to the future. By our deeds, let us grant later generations the possibility to sing of unity and reconciliation among themselves, which was, for us, our future. [Applause.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Chairman, for many years South Africa has been marketed as a tourism destination with the slogan: "A world in one country". That description was even more true about the way South Africans themselves experienced their own country and interpreted facts about their own country, than it was with regard to our natural beauty.
I registered with the Rand Afrikaans University in 1980. Until then. I had interpreted every fact about our country according to the framework in which I was brought up. The cornerstones were the 1899 freedom struggle of the Afrikaner against British imperialism. It was the bittersweet taste of the Peace of Vereeniging, the 1914 rebellion and 1948. South Africa's becoming a Republic in 1961 was a date engraved in our hearts.
But suddenly, unfamiliar names like John Dube, Sol Plaatje and Robert Sobukwe joined the names of Gen Christiaan de Wet, Emily Hobhouse and Jopie Fourie. This had to be interpreted and accommodated in terms of that framework, but it did not fit. The year 1955, four years before I was born. was a year of the great British Lions tour of South Africa. [Interjections.] We do belong to different generations. [Laughter.] That was the year in which great sportsmen came to the fore, underlining the fact that our country could pride itself on its ability to compete and to beat the best in the world. But suddenly another name entered the picture in 1955, and that was the name of a dusty township called Kliptown, and an unfamiliar document to me and others called the Freedom Charter. This made 1955 difficult to understand.
Our country has a painful history, but it has a rich fabric which is slowly being woven into a tapestry which reflects vastly different experiences on the same soil. My party and I wanted the TRC to succeed. We supported the legislation giving birth to it. We supported the concept of the TRC based on the understanding that reconciliation was as important an element of its mandate as the truth about the past. The prerequisite for success was a commission which should have enjoyed wide trust and should have acted in an even-handed and an unbiased way. I believe there are positive results from the TRC process. However, before I refer to them. I would like to share our honest appraisal of TRC and the way it operated.
It was a mistake to appoint a commission dominated by members and sympathisers of only one political party. [Interjections.] It was a mistake. There was not one commissioner who can be described as a supporter or sympathiser of parties such as the NP or the IFP.
The dominance of one political party was reflected in the support structures of the TRC. The TRC's credibility was never undermined by any political party, as is sometimes claimed. It was incidents such as those which I am about to mention that prove that it was the TRC itself that undermined its own integrity by its own actions. One instance was the granting of illegal blanket amnesty to 37 leaders of one political party which was later overturned by the courts. The TRC only joined the court action in a desperate attempt to save face after it had initially defended that illegal blanket amnesty. The party now coming out against blanket amnesty was the party that received blanket amnesty.
One of the 37 people who received illegal amnesty was not only a member of the said political party, but he was the CEO of the TRC itself. Mr Trevor Tutu received amnesty for a crime which was clearly not politically motivated but a common crime. We saw commissioners laughingly comparing the chant. "Kill the farmer, kill the boer!" to the well-known Siembamba children's song. which was utterly insensitive and only served to break down confidence in the commission's impartiality. These incidents were not forced on the TRC, but were of the TRC's own doing.
The TRC was further forced, at one stage, to apologise to Mr De Klerk and the NP after it expressed biased public criticism, something which is specifically outlawed by the TRC's own Act. I would like to read to members from the court settlement:
Dr Boraine, the deputy chairman of the TRC, personally apologises to Mr De Klerk and the NP. The TRC acknowledges, and is deeply concerned at, the perception that such public criticism and conduct reflected negatively on its objectivity and impartiality.
The TRC acknowledged that perception
The TRC. and anybody else. must surely understand that incidents such as these fatally undermine the TRC's claim to impartiality. The TRC will forever be seen by a substantial number of South Africans as a partial institution, although it did, in its report, make some negative findings across the board. The TRC provided a forum for people to come and share their pain. In that sense it was successful. Sometimes, when we watched, we were ashamed, sometimes angry with those on the so-called other side and sometimes with those close to us. Apartheid was an immoral and unjust system. [Applause.] There can be no qualifications. no legal excuses and no hiding behind definitions.
All human rights violations are human rights violations. Torture by the structures of the old NP government was torture. Torture by the ANC was torture. Those political leaders who had the guts and courage to stand up and take full, unqualified responsibility contributed to building the moral fibre in our country. There were people on both sides who rose to the occasion.
However, in reaction to the Deputy President’s speech here today. I would like to quote from the same report that he quoted from, that of Commissioner Malan:
There is no denying the role of racism in the conflict, but to acknowledge the perspective of a cold war, of the threat of international communism, of nationalism, and then to find that the motivating force was racism is a negation of all the former, a contradiction in terms, an arrival at a single truth again, not in the least conducive to reconciliation and national unity
How much the Deputy President's speech this afternoon contributed to reconciliation in our country is a question. It is a question.
It is easy to exploit and abuse latent feelings of anger and of race. It is there on all sides, waiting to be whipped up by politicians for reasons known only to themselves. The real challenge is to channel it constructively. not to exploit it.
The President and the Deputy President referred to amnesty. They ruled out general amnesty. We are also against general amnesty, but if we do not deal with amnesty it will come back time and again to haunt us. [Interjections.] It will haunt those hon members themselves! In other countries, after 10 or 15 years, presidents had to bite the bullet and take firm decisions.
Many people did not apply for amnesty, because the issue of extradition had not been solved and because they did not trust this biased commission. We must deal with that. We believe amnesty must rest on two pillars, ie full reporting, full accountability. full disclosure, but automatic amnesty. Those are the pillars which we believe it must be built on
The question is. "Where to now?" Nothing we can do will ever bring back Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Amy Biehl, many murdered IFP leaders, or Mrs Roos and her son Jaco who were killed by a land mine. Nothing we can do will ever give back Neville James Clarence his sight which was lost in the Church Street bomb blast. Nothing we can do now will erase the years of suffering and pain that many people on all sides experienced.
What we can do as political leaders is to ensure that it will never happen again. What we can do is to ensure that those of us who are now facing the future, will never again be afraid to speak out against ideological oppression, abuse of power, torture, the abuse of man by his fellow man, and - let me add - feelings of latent anger on the part of politicians.
We as a nation must never allow the pain and the suffering , the injustice of the apartheid era, to happen again. This calls for a pact between the responsible leaders of today to close the book on the conflict and despair and to open a new book for future hope .
As versoening gesien word as 'n geskenk wat nou en dan deur die arbitrere genade van die in mag uitgedeel en gemanipuleer kan word wanneer hulle dit polities voordelig ag, sal dit misluk. As versoening gesien en uitgevoer word as 'n opregte poging om die diep verdeeldheid van die verlede te oorbrug. dan sal dit slaag. As versoening gesien word as 'n gedeelde verantwoordelikheid waarvan ons almal mede-eienaarskap het, sal dit nie net slaag nie, maar dit sal werklike betekenis he. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[If reconciliation is seen as a gift which can be handed out and manipulated occasionally through the arbitrary mercy of those who are in power when they deem it to he politically expedient, it will fail. If reconciliation is seen and implemented as a sincere attempt at bridging the deep divisions of the past. then it will succeed. If reconciliation is seen as a shared responsibility of which we all have joint ownership, it will not only succeed, hut it will have true meaning.]
Although our views on the impartiality of the TRC and its actions are known and are critical, the value of its report is that it brought to an end a time of agonising. We must now free our people from psychological pressure and destructive, collective guilt feelings. Our people must now be free to build this country as equals and to make it a success. If our focus does not shift to the future, we will all continue to be prisoners of a dark shadow hanging over our shoulders and the quagmire of the past.
We should have no illusions. It is easier to debate the past with its certainties than it is to debate the future with its uncertainties. The TRC process and our debate here today will disappear like water in the sand if the responsible political leaders in this country do not enter into an honourable pact.
I would like to propose such a pact for reconciliation with elements - the reaction from the ANC is interesting . . . [Interjections) . . . or the reaction from some people on their side, not the majority, is interesting - such as that no hate speech inside or outside this House will he tolerated by leaders from those within their own organisations.
There should be no excuses and no turning a blind eye. It should be unequivocal. Let us get rid of and stop passing raced-based laws. [Interjections.] It speaks for itself. Discrimination cannot rectify past discrimination. If we say we are all equal, let us live equals. Let us not start qualifying equality and equal opportunities. All discrimination starts with exceptions and qualifications. That is the one lesson from our past.
Thirdly, let us, as political leaders, do the difficult thing and commit ourselves to not allowing any person who has committed human rights violations to serve in senior positions or in any positions of leadership in our parties . . . [Interjections] . . . or can be as candidates on our election lists. People who are guilty of human rights violations do not deserve to serve in high office in our country. [Interjections.] I commit myself and the New NP to this and I challenge leaders of all the other political parties to do so.
Fourthly, we as responsible leaders in this House should commit ourselves to finding joint mechanisms to deal with reconciliation and inclusive decisions regarding the future of our land. The New NP released a document titled National value Reconciliation and Democratic Nation-building. In it we make practical proposals regarding from national reconciliation and the consolidation of our democracy. In our honest attempt we give practical content to reconciliation and endeavour to make reconciliation more than just a cliché.
We are proposing, amongst others, inclusive national consensus on socio-economic development, an agreement on a model for democratic nation-building, consensus on core values, for example how to resolve the conflict between afrocentric, eurocentric and other value systems through an accommodative and pluralistic approach; consensus on a national agenda, which should include issues like pragmatic economic policies and economic growth as top priorities and a comprehensive action plan to combat crime, violence and corruption.
In our blueprint for real democracy we spell out the shared responsibility of all communities. It is the only way to make South Africa work.
Ter afsluiting, alhoewel die WVK nie in sy versoengpsopdrag geslaag het nie is daar bemoedigende tekens dat die mense van Suid-Afrika self begin sorg dat dit slaag en dat ou verdelings begin vervaag. Hierdie Parlement is 'n voorbeeld daarvan. In partye soos die ANC en die IVP sit daar vandag mense vir wie dit enkele jare ondenkbaar was. In die Nuwe NP sit daar vandag mense vir wie dit dekades ondenkbaar was. Die meerderheid mense wat nou vir die NP in twee verkiesings gestem het, is mense wat onder apartheid gely het. Ek is trots om te kan se dat ons binne ons party prakties slaag met versoening.
Ek en die Nuwe NP sal ons hou by die pad van versoening. Ek vertrou dat spesifiek die agb Adjunkpresident ook daardie uitdaging sal aanvaar. Vandag se debat in hierdie Parlement beteken dat Christiaan de Wet, John Dube, Emily Hobhouse, Jopie Fourie en Albert Luthuli deel is van ons almal se geskiedenis. Maar vandag beteken ook dat klein Jaco Roos, Fort Calata en Matthew Goniwe, baie vermoorde IVP-leiers en Amy Biehl nou deel is van ons gesamentlike gewete. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[In conclusion, although the TRC did not succeed in its task of reconciliation, there are encouraging signs that the people of South Africa themselves are starting to see to it that it does succeed and that old divisions will begin to fade. This Parliament is an example of that. In parties such as the ANC and the IFP there are people today for whom it was unthinkable for a few years. In the New NP there are people today for whom it was unthinkable for decades. The majority of people who have now been voting for the NP in two elections are people who suffered under apartheid. I am proud to say that within our party we are successful in practice with reconciliation.
The New NP and I will keep to the road of reconciliation. I trust that the hon the Deputy President in particular will also accept that challenge. Today’s debate in this Parliament means that Christiaan de Wet. John Dube. Emily Hobhouse. Jopie Fourie, and Albert Luthuli all form part of the history of all of us. But today also means that little Jaco Roos. Fort Calata and Matthew Goniwe. the many murdered IFP leaders and Amy Biehl now all form part of our collective conscience. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE: Madam Speaker. Chairperson. President. Deputy President and hon members. I rise to salute the family of Ashley Kriel who are with us today. [Applause,] I rise to salutethe families of the Gugulelu Seven who are with us today. [Applause.] I rise to salute the families of our victim communities. Guguletu. Nyanga. Khayelitsha. Athlone. Elsies River and many others, who are with us today. [Applause.]
I very much regret to say that the hon the Leader of the Opposition did not take advantage of this occasion to rise in response to the addresses of our President and our Deputy President. [Interjections.] On that side of the House they are saying "nonsense", but I ask them to consider the response of the Leader of the Opposition. He did not respond to the report of the TRC. I want to remind him what Archbishop Tutu wrote in the final report. He said:
The greatest sadness that we have encountered in the commission . . .
And he was speaking about the hon Tony Leon too
. . . has been the reluctance of white leaders to urge their followers to respond to the remarkable generosity of spirit shown by the victims. This reluctance, indeed this hostility to the commission, has been like spitting in the face of the victims.
Nothing that the hon the Leader of the Opposition has done has undone the attitude that the NP adopted at the TRC.
Today. 25 February 1999. must go down in history as a historic day for South Africa, because for the first time in 350 years, since the beginning of the colonial conquest and domination of South Africa, the country has, through its head of state, officially acknowledged the suffering of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of victims of gross violations of human rights, of victims of apartheid, as a crime against humanity. It is the first time that an official apology is being tendered to listed victims, to countless other victims, survivors, their families, communities and the nation, for the terrible wrongs and pain caused to them by their own country.
It is most ironic that this acknowledgement and apology come not from the erstwhile rulers, oppressors and perpetrators. symbolised by the white political parties here present, who have been so generously permitted to participate in the new democracy without recrimination. [Interjections.] Instead, the acknowledgement and apology are tendered by one who himself suffered the enormous pain. trauma and humiliation of such victimisation, President Mandela himself. [Applause.] Such is the supreme irony that it is the new democratic state, the state for which the countless victims we speak of today suffered and died, the state representing the victims themselves, which is being called upon to accept responsibility for the crimes of the apartheid state and to carry its enormous burden.
The irony becomes all the more painful when those who were a party to the crime against humanity, but continue through the generosity of this very President and the new democratic order, to participate in the new democracy, arrogantly refuse to acknowledge that they need to cleanse their hands, which for decades have been dripping with the blood and tears of millions of victims. [Applause.]
No wonder that Archbishop Tutu made the remarks which he did. They have shown no remorse or contrition and pay scant regard to the suffering, pain and humiliation for which they have been responsible. Such, too, was and is the nobility of the struggle for liberation and freedom from oppression and exploitation, and the struggle for dignity and human rights in South Africa, that our Comrade President, symbol of that struggle, on behalf of democracy-loving people in our country, has avoided pointing fingers and recrimination.
However, the hon the President says, as he is doing today, to South Africa's countless victims, that we acknowledge their suffering and pain. We are sorry. We will do what we can to heal their wounds, the wounds of their community and the wounds of the nation. We will do what we can to restore their dignity, that of the community and that of the nation. We will do what we can to provide a framework for reparation, a multifaceted frame- work, which will include monetary reparation in one or other form, community-based reparation, symbolic reparation, legal and administrative measures and provision of services. However, we will also bear in mind that our gallant sons and daughters did not participate in the struggle and did not sacrifice their lives for monetary compensation.
Restoring dignity and a package of reparation measures must help to proclaim before history the nobility of the struggle for freedom in our country, and that the privilege of participating in that struggle is its own reward. Nevertheless, we also say that we will need to strike a balance, on the one hand not to debase the struggle by reducing this package to material matters only , but on the other also to address the real plight of victims, their families and their communities, so that not only is their dignity restored, but their humanity is respected and they can feel in their daily lives that the new South Africa cares for them and recognises their contribution
Central to this debate today must be the plight, the concern and the demands of victims, not only those who have been listed and proclaimed as victims by the TRC, but the countless other victims who often , through no fault of their own , find themselves not listed and identified as victims. We must not reduce the victims of apartheid tyranny to beggars pleading for a hand-out of mercy, when indeed it is they who gave and sacrificed their all for the struggle . It is through their sacrifices that we are here today.
However, this process of reparation of dignity and healing the trauma of victims cannot be left to Government alone. It must be part of a national effort and the whole nation must participate. The process will not receive it final answer today, but we must give direction The nature and extent of reparation and its total package will depend much, not only on this historic debate, but also on the response of South Africa’s people in the months and years ahead. The whole of South Africa must participate, make sacrifices and contribute, especially those who benefited from apartheid.
On 17 May 1995 we stood before this House to introduce the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Bill. Toady, nearly four years later, we have before us the five volumes of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, five volumes of this document. We have before us the recommendations of the TRC, and in considering those recommendations, special focus must be placed on the victims. Doing so will enables us to deepen the compassion and respect for dignity inherent in our constitutional dispensation, and will result in a new deal, also for all those whose lives have been shattered and dignity trampled upon through the violence perpetrated against by criminal violence.
I think in particular of our women and girls who are the victims of rape and domestic violence, because the culture of violence about which we speak today is the violence of which women and girls today are the major victims. It is one of the consequences of decades of state, and state- inspired, violence. We need a new dispensation for all victims of violence. One of the results of this process will be, in addition to the specific processes we speak of today, the adoption by Government and this Parliament of a charter for the rights of victims in line with the best of such endeavours to be found in other parts of the world. We must do what we can over the next few years to achieve, within the framework of the constraints imposed of upon us, justice to the maximum extent possible for all victims.
The TRC has recommended, in so far as reparations and rehabilitation is concerned, that a structure be developed in the President's office, with a limited secretariat and a fixed life span, whose functions will be to oversee the implementation of reparation and rehabilitation policy proposals and recommendations, to facilitate mechanisms for financial reparation, to issue death certificates, to expedite exhumations and burials, to facilitate issues of declarations of death in cases where family members so request, to facilitate the expunging of criminal records, to facilitate the resolution of outstanding legal matters, to facilitate the renaming of streets and community facilities to remember and honour individuals or significant events and to build monuments and memorials. The commission further says that there should be a and national day of remembrance
We would urge that the overconcentration on individual monetary grants in relatively large sums should be discouraged. It creates false expectations. At the same time. financial awards cannot be excluded, but may take different forms - for example, special pensions.
Reparation, restoration of dignity and the healing of the wounds of the past will require a multifaceted and balanced approach dependent upon capacity, affordability, as well as the ethos and value system which South Africa wishes to nurture and encourage.
The TRC report is before us. It has its flaws and weaknesses, but pointing out flaws and weaknesses does not detract from the enormity of the task which lay before the TRC and the enormity of its achievements. There are members of the TRC present today, and I convey our appreciation to them. [Applause.]
The TRC has never been beyond criticism. It was not a creation of God, but a creation of this Parliament. Through legislation, we proclaimed its independence, but we also, through law, deliberately subjected it to judicial and legal scrutiny.
Only those who do not understand the nature of our new democratic order founded on the rule of law will fail to understand that, like our own offspring whom we criticise for their failings and yet continue to love and respect, the TRC remains ours and enjoys our respect.
May I remind members that, side by side with the TRC process, we embarked upon other processes. We established the Constitutional Court, the Human Rights Commission, the Judicial Services Commission, the Public Protector, the Gender Equality Commission and other bodies. We proclaimed their independence as well. It is part of the nature and character of our democracy that everyone and all structures are subject to judicial and legal scrutiny.
We want our people to invoke these bodies and judicial processes in order to have their grievances and complaints attended to. A cardinal element of the rule of law is that we do not take the law into our own hands, but seek to have our problems resolved through the mechanisms created by our democracy, which, in the final analysis, are the courts. That is how we should see the criticism - often just criticisms - levelled at the TRC. and that is how we should see the court challenges. These challenges and the vigorous debates around the pros and cons of the TRC represent a triumph for our democracy. It is not a weakness. It is the very opposite of tyranny.
The TRC has discharged its functions without interference from Government. Having handed over its report, it now remains for us as Parliament to make our voices heard and to take the processes further. [Applause.]
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Madam Speaker, Your s Excellency the President, hon Deputy President, colleagues, on 10 May 1978, during the funeral of his friend and former colleague, Mr Robert Sobukwe, a group of youths attempted to murder IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, after s driving him from the podium. This happened after he had been invited by the Sobukwe family and the PAC leadership to deliver the funeral oration.
Minister Buthelezi denounced the outrage as the work of thugs. This was not so, retorted a very high-profile cleric. The action, he said, was the work of a "new breed of youth with iron in their souls". The man who uttered those words went on to become the chairman of what this Parliament has styled the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He may well have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, but we have never heard an apology for this condonation of an attempted murder. Yet we are asked to believe that he is dedicated to reconciliation.
In its report, the TRC had the following to say about the UDF and its leadership, and I quote from the TRC report, pages 246-247:
The UDF and its leadership failed to exert political and moral authority available to it to stop ... the killing ... attempted killing and severe ill-treatment of political opponents (and is) accordingly accountable for the gross violations of human rights ...
This assault on Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the IFP marked the first major salvo in a vicious campaign of vilification and serial killing of many thousands of ordinary IFP members and leaders culminating in documented public calls for the murder of Minister Buthelezi and at least one documented plot to have him assassinated by a hired killer, as was acknowledged by a very high ANC leader
On 5 September 1996,IFP chairman emeritus Dr T Mdlalose told the TRC in Cape Town that the dark years of apartheid had conditioned us all to think in stark contrast- in black and white. He told the: the TRC that this stereotypical thinking had journeyed with us into what we called the new South Africa. He said that the ANC was still busily crafting mythologies in which it cast itself as the only righteous force in the struggle for freedom. He predicted that the work of the TRC stood in danger of becoming a victim of this malaise . Its brief, he said, was to investigate human rights violations under apartheid, but he noted that the conflict between IFP and the ANC was not the about apartheid, but rather about the nature of the system that would replace white rule and identity of those would wield power after liberation.
The conflict was rooted in differing responses to the problem of apartheid, responses that had begun more than three decades ago and persisted in the in the current policies espoused by the two organisations to bring about fundamental change in South Africa.
The TRC was established within the parameters of a political accommodation reached between the ANC and the NP, and it was provided for in the postamble to the interim Constitution , which sealed the bilateral agreement between these two organisations. The work of the TRC has remained affected by this bilateral origin
We recognise that the TRC may have been of value in disclosing several aspects of the black and the white and the white –on black conflicts. However , it has proved to be clueless in respect of exposing the truth with regard to the black –on-black conflict. The TRC report has failed to understand, exposed and reconcile the most significant aspect of the armed struggle which instead of exclusively targeting the white minority, was mainly waged against black communities.
The armed struggle was used as a tool of political action to achieve political hegemony within the liberation movement which was divided into competing and equally deserving segments. Since its inception, Inkatha believed in a strategy for liberation based on differentiated approaches, but the promoter of the armed struggle sought hegemony and directed the war against our own people.
Weapons and funding were provided to people who did not have a natural constituency in black communities. Violence and intimidation were utilised against the existing leadership at community level in order to replace it with a new leadership loyal to the promoters of the armed struggle. A new community leadership rose to power through violence within an overall strategy that targeted black communities in order to make them ungovernable. Practices such as necklacing spread to intimidate entire communities into accepting their new leaders who were foisted on them
The existing social fibre of black communities was uprooted in the name of a culture of violence, lack of respect and entitlement which is the root cause of the present situation of criminality and disintegration of morals. The TRC has chosen to close its eyes to this reality, even though the black people who died during the armed struggle against apartheid, at the hands of other black people. outnumbered a hundred times the white people who became its victims.
In one area of the country the armed struggle could not destabilise the existing leadership at community level, and that was in KwaZulu. KwaZulu and its then leader. Dr Buthelezi. were singled out as the target of this campaign, and the TRC is fully aware of a mass of official documents that prove it.
The TRC knows of public calls by the then ANC leadership for the murder of Dr Buthelezi and other IFP leaders. It knows that Dr Buthelezi was stigmatised as a counter-revolutionary, and detailed plans to destroy his leadership and deprive him of his social base began decades ago and persisted long after the TRC commenced its work.
The TRC has evidence and knows the names of high-ranking leaders in certain political parties who publicly called for Dr Buthelezi to be "got rid of". It knows, too. that the same individual told Mr Justice Richard Goldstone that the policy of using violence as a political tool against the IFP would be dropped, an assurance that was accepted. This very assurance was an open admission that until November 1992 a certain political party was still entailed in violence against the IFP as a tool of political action.
Nowhere in its report has the TRC recorded these facts, and this despite the fact that the TRC knows full well that the people involved were caught red-handed smuggling large quantities of the tools of assassins into KwaZulu- Natal, long after the transition to democracy had begun, and for the express purpose of murdering members of the IFP. There have been no charges, and the TRC has chosen to remain silent.
In Pietermaritzburg the TRC's Amnesty Committee recommended the granting of amnesty to former MK and UDF members who confessed to the murder of IFP Midlands leader Arnold Lolo Lombo. Amnesty was granted to the four applicants, despite the fact that one of them was not even present and that they did not reveal the identity of the MK commander who gave the instructions, nor the identity of ANC leaders who dispatched the killers to KwaZulu-Natal to commit the murder. This is a demonstration of bias and failure to act in terms of section 18 of the TRC's enabling statute.
Although there is a formal admission before the TRC that this murder was an officially sanctioned MK operation, it failed to point out in its report that this was indeed a direct contradiction of assurances given to the TRC by none other than the President of the ANC.
If they had simply pursued the IFP submissions to the TRC of 5 September 1996, the TRC commissioners would have been in a position to satisfy themselves that a deliberate plan had been hatched at Shell House to despatch MK forces to KwaZulu-Natal to murder IFP leaders, and to smuggle weapons into the province on a large scale. Yet there were no event hearings in respect of these crimes.
However, in contrast, the TRC staged event hearings into the so-called seven-day war. at which not a single fact implicating the ANC in any way whatsoever was produced, despite it being widely known that the stoning of buses transporting IFP supporters from a rally had triggered the confrontation.
The event hearings staged on 20 November 1996 in Pietermaritzhurg will be a blot on the history of this country for all time. IFP members were subjected to public vilification and threats of murder within the precincts of the venue at which the hearings took place by mobs which had been incited to commit these actions by the activities of the TRC and by the way it conducted its business.
I must now make a shocking revelation, which in itself shows how futile the TRC process has been. One of the key figures of the violence in the Midlands was Sifiso Nkabinde who, after his expulsion from the ANC and subsequent incarceration, feared for his life. Nkabinde sought to buy himself political life insurance and left several affidavits with his advocate.
In one of them he stated that during the TRC hearings on the seven-day war, he was approached by a TRC commissioner who pressurised him to seek amnesty. Nkabinde asked him whether he should tell the whole truth in respect of the seven- day war, including this commissioner's own involvement in it. His answer was that he should keep silent about it.
In his affidavit, Nkabinde states that this commissioner was personally involved in supplying arms used in the seven-day war to the fighting units in Richmond. According to Nkabinde. this commissioner used the Federal Theological Seminary, Fedsern, in Imbali as a stock facility for the weapons and he personally handed out these weapons. This piece of truth never emerged in the TRC report. In itself, this piece of truth indicts the entire TRC process. We can only say that the ANC's chickens are coming home to roost, even from their graves.
The TRC also granted amnesty to MK members Maj Muff Andersson and a Mr Saloojee for their role in smuggling some 30 tons of weapons into South Africa and, in particular, into KwaZulu- Natal. [Interjections.] The TRC issued statements in which it confirmed that these weapons had been used against "surrogates", which is TRC terminology for opponents of the ANC, MK and the SDUs.
The failure of the TRC to pursue this vital glimpse of the machinery at the disposal of MK in KwaZulu-Natal and the role of some senior members of a certain political party, such as SANDF Gen Ismail and intelligence chief Mo Shaik, confirm that the TRC was not committed to revealing the truth about the killing of IFP members and the role of MK in these killings.
It is significant that all these activities took place after the unbanning of the ANC, the signing of various accords limiting military activity, and while Muff Andersson was a high-ranking member of the National Peacekeeping Force of the Transitional Executive Council, which was entrusted with efforts to stabilise townships in which conflict existed between the IFP and the ANC.
The TRC knows, too, that many thousands of young people were illegally flown out of South Africa for effective training in Uganda and elsewhere. It must know that thousands more were openly and illegally trained in townships around Durban, not in the use of sophisticated agricultural weapons, but in the use of AK-47s and Draganov sniper rifles.
If it does not know these facts, there can be only one of two explanations - it has either acted irresponsibly, thus not fulfilling its mandate, or it has chosen to ignore them.
Despite all these documented facts the TRC instead chose to focus all its attention on the so- called Caprivi trainees, a mere 200 young men who were being legally trained, for that matter [Interjections] Months of investigations and the lengthy so-called Malan trial conclusively determined that they were trained to protect government property and to help stem a murderous and publicly documented onslaught against community leaders.
When the decision of this trial was handed down, inter alia acquitting the current IFP secretary-general, Mr M Z Khumalo, none other than Archbishop Desmond Tutu reacted by saying that the matter the matter should have been brought before the TRC, where in what he regarded to be the real truth could have been better ascertained. This showed the depth of his contempt for our judiciary, and exposed his belief that his preconceived notions are the revealed truth, as well as his lack of understanding of what truth- finding is all about. The TRC was constituted, and operated in a fashion that was incompatible with establishing the truth, for any statement before it could not be verified through cross examination or independent verification of evidence.
The main source of the TRC’s information remains the twisted confessions of people who are seeking amnesty for their self-confessed crimes and the pleas of those who were seeking monetary compensation. One would obviously say anything to please those who hold the key which can free them from a 30-year jail sentence. They told the TRC what they felt the TRC wanted to hear.
This distortion clearly happened in the testimony of discredited witnesses and self-confessed killers such as Daluxolo Mandlanduna Luthuli, Romeo Mbambo and Andries Nosenga, who kept changing their versions of the facts of their crimes until they concocted lies to implicate Minister Buthelezi in their activities. [Interjections. ] In due course, all these were proved to be lies. They are. Yet these lies were carried as front page headlines in newspapers and were opening statements in news bulletins, setting us back on our path to reconciliation and in our truth finding exercise.
While the TRC found no evidence of any wrongdoing, or a specific violation of human rights by Dr Buthelezi. it seeks to hold him accountable for the generic violation of human rights. This is legally obscene and morally repugnant. The TRC could do nothing to counter the fundamental truth, and that is that Minister Buthelezi has been the only major leader involved in the conflicts of the past who never ordered, authorised, ratified or condoned any violation of human rights. [Interjections.] He is the: only one who never regarded any fellow South African as an enemy to be defeated or even forcibly expatriated, or a terrorist to be imprisoned or killed
Given its bias. the TRC had to tarnish the reputation of Minister Buthelezi and sought to hold him politically accountable for actions of others in Inkatha and the KwaZulu government, in spite of no possible connection existing between such actions and the political leadership of Minister Buthelezi.
One is politically accountable when certain actions may be the consequence of the policies adopted by a leader. But Minister Buthelezi never adopted any policy other than nonviolence, passive resistance and the echoing demand for all-inclusive negotiations, which in the final analysis were exactly what caused the demise of apartheid and led to the birth of the new South Africa. [Interjections]
In 1994, at a prayer breakfast in Durban, Minister Buthelezi apologised for any violence committed by IFP members for any reason. He repeated the same apology when he appeared personally before the TRC, and in correspondence to the leaders of the ANC. However, no one has tendered a similar apology in respect of the violence to which the IFP was subjected.
In its report, the TRC uses totally fantastic figures in respect of the violence for which the IFP was allegedly responsible. The IFP has commenced action to demand from the TRC the documentation corroborating these figures.
At no time did the TRC give the IFP the required notice that it was contemplating making such a finding which, in addition to being a flagrant violation of the law, is also an indication that they have no basis to support their findings.
Throughout the report there is no corroboration for the finding that the IFP was responsible for such a hyperbolic number of nameless and faceless victims and that it was therefore the primary fomenter of violence during the conflicts of the past.
The IFP has repeatedly produced a detailed list of its leaders who have been murdered in their houses, their workplaces and public streets in a systematic plan of mass assassination. We gave the names , dates circumstances and docket numbers to the TRC. and yet the TRC does not even advance a possible theory to explain such s of systematic assassination, short of identifying who was responsible for it and who masterminded it. This remains the most clear proof of the TRC’s bias and its incapacity to comprehend the black- on-black conflict.
However, the TRC has dared to ascribe a large number of victims to the actions of the IFP in spite of its incapacity to identify who such victims were and under which specific circumstances they were allegedly killed. Moreover, the TRC was in possession of documentation which the IFP submitted to the Goldstone commission which shows two fundamental patterns which emerged in respect of the black-on-black conflict in which some members of the IFP were involved
The first pattern shows that all victims were geographically located in the IFP-dominated areas, which proves conclusively that they were either victims of ANC action or were ANC activists who moved into IFP areas for offensive purposes. A second pattern shows that the violence against the IFP went into co-ordinated waves and was executed by well-trained units deployed around the country according to a structured plan.
These two patterns of violence support two statements. Firstly, the ANC violence was not the product of spontaneous dynamics at community level, as argued by some ANC leaders, and, secondly, the IFP never utilised violence as a tool of political action, nor trained and deployed people for such purposes. If members of the IFP were dragged into violence, they became involved in their personal capacity and on a clearly defensive basis in responsive actions.
Often their actions were reactions which were mounted at community level and involved the whole of the community, which proves that the IFP never developed or deployed internal military capacity or a private army. None of these basic facts of history even emerged in the TRC report
No discussion on the TRC report would be complete without reference to events at Richmond. The Richmond and lxopo areas were immortalised by that great son of South Africa, Mr Alan Paton.
Its hills and grasslands were, in his immortal words in Cry, the Beloved Country, more beautiful than the singing of it. Today that beautiful place has been made ugly beyond the telling of it.
The TRC, through its association with Howard Varney and the ITU, must have known about no- go areas in Richmond in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands which had been created by certain political organisations. The TRC would also have known from the Goldstone commission that a former member of the Transkei Defence Force, one Captain Shoba, had smuggled arms into the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on a massive scale and had also been responsible for the training of SDUs in the Richmond area. Although some of the wrongdoers were arrested on a selective basis, the TRC did nothing to expose the evil that had been committed against the people of Richmond.
The TRC has seen itself in the new South Africa as a long arm of the struggle as waged by the ANC and the UDF in the old South Africa. This perception of the subservience of the TRC has already been clearly demonstrated. The TRC broke all the rules of its enabling legislation when it granted a blanket amnesty to 27 ANC leaders and Cabinet Ministers without any disclosure. We do not know, even now, what the grave violations of human rights, including murder and mayhem, were that these members of our country's leadership have admitted legal responsibility to.
The TRC has remained stuck in the mind-set of the total onslaught against the IFP that is the legacy of yesterdays politics. Its final report is a clumsily crafted anecdotal mythology through which it has sought to give credibility to yesterday's liberation propaganda. The TRC will be hounded by the spirits of thousands of our supporters and leaders who were the victims of serial killings. It will be despised by millions of our people who still live with the sorrow of the killing of their loved ones and the wrongs done to them.
The final report of the TRC will be consigned to the dustbin of history. We commit ourselves to peace in our time and shall not stoop to the falsification of a bitter past in the interests of expediency. We owe this to the future. Genuine reconciliation begins now, as we close the final chapter on the TRC, and in the years to come begin finding and accepting the truth of the black- on-black conflict and atoning for it.
I kept on referring to the commissioner who has been implicated in the gun smuggling during the seven-day war. That commissioner is none other than Rev Khoza Mgojo. [Applause.]
Mr W A HOFMEYR: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: I believe the last comment by the speaker from the IFP was clearly in contravention of Rule 99 and is unparliamentary. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, I would want to ask you to withdraw that. It is clearly an attack on the integrity of the commissioner. I also wish to say that the manner in which it was delivered was clearly an attempt to violate the Rules, and I do not take kindly to that. [Interjections.] Please, hon members, we are now proceeding with the debate. [Interjections.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: Rule 99 provides that no member shall reflect upon the competence or honour of a person. I do not see how the hon member reflected on the competence or honour of the person. He merely brought to the attention . . . [Interjections.] Can I just finish . . .
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, please! The interpretation of the Rule has been given! [Interjections.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: You shut up. man! [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! You will withdraw that statement! Hon member, you will withdraw that immediately!
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Speaker. I was not talking to you. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, you will withdraw that statement!
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: I cannot hear you. Madam Speaker.
SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, you will withdraw the statement in which you asked a member somewhere here to shut up.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: I withdraw it. He need not shut up! [Laughter.) [Interjections]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, you will take your seat! [Interjections.) I will rule on your point of order. Please take your seat!
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: But I have not finished my point of order, Madam Speaker.
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, would you please take your seat!
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Are you not allowing me to finish my point of order? [Interjections.)
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, will you please take your seat.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: I will take my seat, but you have not allowed me to finish my point of order. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member. I am very familiar with Rule 99. Not only that. but it was discussed, and I put forward interpretations at the programme committee and at the meetings with the Whips, precisely to avoid the kind of situation we have had now.
We have a very positive debate. The member concerned has withdrawn the allegation, and I think we should now proceed without attempting to destroy what we have achieved. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Madam Speaker, hon President, hon Deputy President, hon members, what we have just heard is unbelievable but true. I will not waste my time responding to it. At the dawn of the new democratic order the ANC, its revolutionary allies and other progressive formations were confronted by a number of challenges, regarding our attitude to people who had committed gross human rights violations against the vast majority of our people.
Topical amongst these was how to begin the healing process and lay a basis for reconciliation and nation-building in a country as racially polarised and traumatised as South Africa.
Do we adopt an eye-for-an-eye or a tooth-for-a- tooth attitude? Do we use our painfully won liberation to enslave yesterday’s masters? Do we conduct Nuremberg-style trials and hunt the perpetrators 50 years on?
We also had to come to terms with the question of how to heal the wounds of millions of mothers whose children died the most painful death. They starved to death in the midst of plenty, whilst their very mothers were preparing bountiful dinner tables for the perpetrators of these abuses.
We had to deal with the question of what to do about the tears of generations and generations of children who were denied education simply because of their colour and their genetic make-up.
Families were separated because the previous regime considered women and children, to be "unnecessary appendages". We were confronted with horrible tales of scientists and doctors who used their skills to destroy rather than save humanity
We looked at the situation of women turned into widows whilst their husbands were languishing in prison for no reason other than that they dared oppose what was internationally declared a crime against humanity.
We thought of compatriots such as Vuyisile Mini, Andrew Zondo, Solomon Mahlangu, and many others, who were sent to the gallows because they dared organise against apartheid. We also thought of the assassinations of comrades such as Joe Gqabi, Dulcie September, Ruth First; of the murders of Phila Ndwandwe, Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, to name but a few; of the Matola, Lesotho. Botswana and Boipatong massacres; of comrades and civilians brutally murdered in cold blood in neighbouring states and buried in secret graves.
The question facing this country was: "What do we do?" Do we order the arrests of those who were perpetrators and dispossess those who used the crime against humanity to amass wealth? Do we take the wealth away from those who exploited and bled the workers of this country to death, using apartheid laws? Do we completely disregard and sack all public servants who served the apartheid state and did not voice their indignation against it? Do we gel rid of judges who presided over the judiciary and became part and parcel of the perpetrators of crime against humanity?
The ANC deliberately did not take that route. Consistent with the way we had conducted our struggle and our just war, we opted for the truth and reconciliation process as a basis for healing the wounds of the past injustices, and building a unitary and democratic South Africa.
The depth of our humanity is vividly illustrated by the fact that the judge who had the discretion to hang or not to hang a young revolutionary like Andrew Zondo, is still a judge, and his progeny enjoy the direct fruit of the very freedom that Andrew died for. The same could be said of many others in different institutions throughout the country.
The ANC and its allies were unquestionably democratic. We fought against tyranny. We were in the forefront of the liberation of our people, and we are going to be in the forefront of reconciliation and nation-building. [Applause.]
The TRC process was not perfect, but, whilst we acknowledge its imperfections, we still feel that it is the foundation for reconciliation and a vehicle for moving forward and building a strong, healthy and prosperous nation.
Building the nation of our dreams will require efforts from all sides, from all parties and from all citizens. On the one side, it is dependent on the willingness of those who were deeply traumatised by the mother of all crimes against humanity, apartheid, to be prepared to forgive. On the other hand, the perpetrators have to acknowledge their actions of the past and commit and dedicate themselves to a positive contribution towards building our nation.
As an act of reparation, it is urgent that we honour those who paid the supreme sacrifice and salute those who participated in the struggle in our country from the arrival of our oppressors in 1652. We, as South Africans, have an obligation to build a monument dedicated to the heroes and heroines of the struggle which will stand as a constant reminder of our commitment as a nation to the spirit of reconciliation and as a concrete expression that never again shall we tolerate any government that will divide and traumatise our people in the way that apartheid and its surrogates did.
But what is even more important is what we do together as South Africans from both sides of the racial divide, from both sides of the hedge that the Deputy President talked about, to ensure that indeed reconciliation is realised. We must ensure that the revulsion and indignation against apartheid remains permanent. But this can gain expression in a positive way in the amount of energy we expend in transforming our society and in building a better life for all. We must create a society in which children have a right to education and health, in which the soul of the nation is strengthened and in which we walk together and combat all types of crime, whether it be violence against women and children: violence of poverty, ignorance and disease: murder: white-collar crime: fraud or tax evasion: theft of public funds: theft of hospital linen or examination papers - the list is endless.
Reconciliation is the only route which we have, and it demands sacrifices from all sides to enable us to build the type of society in which our children, grandchildren and future generations will be proud to live. We therefore have to produce professionals who uphold their professional dignity and use their skills and expertise to serve the community professionals who are able to resist the temptation of buying stolen drugs and cheating victims of motor vehicle accidents ; teachers who pride themselves on better results from their students: prosecutors and police whose gratification derives from a high rate of conviction of criminals - a society which says: My child is your child and I will treat my child and protect yours as if it were my own; a society in which the rich volunteer to pay substantially more so that the poor can have access to electricity, sanitation, and water. It requires an opposition in Parliament which recognises that , for the reconstruction and reconciliation of our country, we need to work together, rather than to oppose for the sake of opposition. Is this an unrealistic expectation" Could it be that these parties, having participated as perpetrators against our people, have had their minds blunted. their feelings numbed and their souls destroyed?
Are they genuinely incapable of comprehending what contribution they need to make? Could it be that their feelings are so numb that they cannot feel remorse, and therefore see no reason to repent or to be builders and reconcilers of our nation, rather than to continue to divide and destroy? Could it be that their soul was so destroyed that the change from being agents of destruction to being agents of reconciliation and reconstruction is impossible? These are the questions that the opposition parties should ask themselves and answer.
Does hope in this country only lie with young children who, if we do not poison their minds, have no baggage and will see themselves as true compatriots and as part of a great nation?
Should it not be part of reconciliation to acknowledge the contribution made by our young doctors doing community service, and thus to encourage other professionals to do the same? Should it not mean applauding the public servants who have sacrificed their spare weekends to register voters and who, by their actions, are contributing to developing a voters' roll in this country for the first time without asking for extra finance?
Should it not mean encouraging a sense of responsibility amongst our young people rather than a sense of entitlement? Should reconciliation not mean making and undertaking a solemn vow that never again shall we make laws in this Parliament which are not in the spirit of reconciliation, reconstruction and nation- building?
Should it not mean that our professionals should give the same undertaking that never again will their skills and expertise be used towards the destruction of humanity?
Is it too much to expect that during this debate we shall all undertake quiet, honest introspection about the role we play in this reconciliation and nation-building, wherever we are? This, of course, includes the media, which has not been very prominent in promoting reconciliation and nation- building. [Interjections.]
Should it not mean that everyone, black and white, should contribute to the reparation of all the victims of our struggle as a concrete expression of reconciliation, unity and nation-building? Should reconciliation not mean the contribution of one day’s gross earnings by all South Africans towards job creation?
In conclusion. I think this is a challenge to all of us. Our people across the spectrum are hoping and longing for firm leadership on this path of reconciliation, reconstruction and nation-building. Their willingness to forgive is a clear demonstration of their readiness. Let us use our diversity to enrich the tapestry of the nation we are building.
Let us thank, honour, and salute those who made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. Let us thank and salute those who languished in jail like our President and many others who obviously demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to forgive. Above all, let us salute our people who dared to fight and defeat apartheid . . . [Applause] . . . thus restoring their own dignity and the dignity of the perpetrators. Our people who fought and defeated apartheid, rekindled the hope and confidence in humanity. Lastly, we salute the glorious army of our people, uMkhonto weSizwe . . . [Applause] . . . which liberated us all.
I do hope that the opposition leaders have the capacity to rise to the challenge and understand what nation-building is all about. Those who do not will not be judged kindly by history, but those of us who have the commitment and the dedication will forge ahead and build the greatest of nations. [Applause.]
Mr D H M GIBSON: Madam Speaker, I have received an unsigned note which advises all Chief Whips that the debate will be interrupted at 16h30 for 30 minutes and invites everybody to tea and cake. That is all very sweet, but I understood that what we did was to consult each other as far as the arrangements for the House were concerned.
It might seem a small matter, but a debate as important as this. which is now adjourned for half an hour, means that the only people who are able to communicate with the voters of South Africa through the television news at 6 o'clock, are a succession of ANC speakers plus the President. [Interjections.) The leader of my party and his views have still not been able to be communicated. [Interjections.] In the first 96 minutes of this debate, I think we had something like 84 from the ANC. In Parliament the take . . . [Interjections]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon Mr Gibson ….[Interjections.]
Mr D H M GIBSON: What I am saying is that the DP objects to the adjournment now, and we propose that the debate continues.[Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: 0rder! Hon members, since tea will be available ,and without causing disruption, I would suggest that those who wish to leave the House do so and have their tea. Those who wish to remain and continue the debate may do so now.
Gen C L VILJOEN: Madam Speaker, I would like to start off by saying that I am also rather worried today about the future of our country. I have noticed also in the speech of the hon the Deputy President some vindictiveness and aggressiveness, and I do not know the Deputy President to be like this.
I want to say that if this is reconciliation , if the attitude of this debate is reconciliation , then, the I prefer the sword. I would rather die an honourable death through the sword than stand the humiliation which is being dealt to me and my people in this debate. I would like to say that we have to find direction, and in a debate such as this, which is a very important debate, I have 10 minutes to do so .I have heard more than an hour and a half of accusations being piled up against us. I have no time to reply to this. This is very unfair indeed . Another member of my party was allocated five minutes, and this is suppression of a minority group by not even allowing us time to speak in this place.
Ek praat vandag namens die etniese Afrikaners wat as ‘n volk in die spervuur staan met hirdie debat. Ek wil opkom vir hulle. Ek praat ook namens die militere mense , nie net van my kant af nie , maar ook van die ander kant, honderde en duisende mense wat van albei kante hul militere plig nagekom het en en wie se dade nou deur hierdie politieke proses ‘n misdadige kleur kry Ek wil ook vir daardie mense opkom.
Hierdie debat gaan oor ‘n ooreenkoms, ‘n skikking onder die opskrif "Nasionale Eenheid en Versoenig". Hierdie kontrak het ‘n oorlog beenndig, en dit bepaal dat ‘n geskiedkundige brug gebou moet word tussen die verlede en tweespalt en die toekoms en hoop. Dit is ‘n erkenning dat die strewe na nasionale eenheid versoening verg. Dit skryf voor begrip, nie wraaksug nie, herstel , nie vergelding nie, medemenslikheid , nie viktimisering nie. Dit beklemtoon die noodsaaklikheid van amnestie vir kriminele en siviele misdrywe, en die versuim wat met die stryd van die verlede gepaard gegaan het, ook daadeur beklemtoon
Die Konstitusionale Hof het gese amnestie moet in die wyste sin moontlik toegeken word, maar wat is die waarheid ? Het die WVK dit gedoen ? Het ons genoeg waarheid bo redelike twyfel om die brug te kan bou en hierdie kontrak na te kom, veral as die verslag nie die konsensusproduk is van 17 kommissarisse nie, as die voorsitter self se dat swaar geleun is op die navorsingsdepartement om self konsepbevindings te skryf, en as groepmetodes gebruik is om verkillende aspekte apart te hanteer? Dan lyk dit vir my of ons nie’n geheelbeeld het nie, of ons in elk geval nie konsensus het van die hele kommssie oor die detail van die verslag nie en of die verslag koordinasie kort.
Gedeeltelike waarhede of halwe waarhede is, in die woorde van Adam Small, die kos van moralistiese yweraars en politieke yweraars. Dit word propaganda en so raak die ongetoetse getuienis dan die geloofwaardiheid van hiedie verslag . As die verslag ‘n bron van toekomstige geskiedskryfwing moet wees- en ek betwis dit- sal die getuienis en die strategiese konteks van hierdie verslag aan behoorlike evaluering deur onafhanklike navorsing en debatvoering onderwerp moet word. Ek stem daarom saam met die Adjunkpresident se skerp kritiek wat hy uitgespreek het. So nie is dit net vir algemene politieke gebruik en het dit eintlik geen geskiedkundige waarde nie. Om in paragraaf 24 van die voorwoord te se,
The Malan trials and the Goniwe inquest have also shown to us that, because such legal proceedings rely on proof beyond reasonable doubt, the criminal justice system is not the best way to arrive at the truth,
gooi ‘n skaduwee oor die WVK en oor ons regstelsel ( Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Today I am speaking on behalf of the ethnic Afrikaners who as a people are standing in the crossfire with regard to this debate. I want to speak up for them. I am also speaking on behalf of the military people, not only for my part. but also from the other side. hundreds and thousands of people from both sides who fulfilled their military duty and whose deeds are now receiving a criminal colour through this political process. I also want to speak up for those people.
This debate is about an agreement, a settlement under the heading "National Unity and Reconciliation". This contract ended a war. and it stipulates that an historic bridge had to be built between the past and discord, and the future and hope. It is a recognition of the fact that the pursuit of national unity requires reconciliation. It prescribes understanding, not vindictiveness. reparation, not retribution, common humanity, not victimisation. It emphasises the necessity for amnesty, for criminal and civil offences, and in this way the omissions connected with the struggle of the past are also emphasised.
The Constitutional Court declared that amnesty should be granted in the broadest sense possible, but what is the truth? Did the TRC do this? Do we have sufficient truth beyond reasonable doubt to be able to build a bridge and honour this contract, particularly if the report is not the consensus product of 17 commissioners, if the chairperson himself says that the research department was heavily relied upon to write draft findings itself. and if group methods were used to deal with various aspects separately? It then appears to me that we do not have a complete view, that in any case we do not have the consensus of the entire commission regarding the details of the report and that the report is lacking co-ordination.
Partial truths or half-truths are. in the words of Adam Small, fodder for moralistic zealots and political zealots. They become propaganda and in this way the untested evidence affects the credibility of this report. If this report has to be a source for future historical writing - and I dispute that - the evidence and the strategic context of this report will have to be subjected to proper evaluation by independent research and debating. I therefore agree with the sharp criticism expressed by the Deputy President. Otherwise it is merely for general political use and it actually has no historical value. To say in .paragraph 24 of the foreword
The Malan trials and the Goniwe inquest have also shown us that. because such legal proceedings rely on proof beyond reasonable doubt, the criminal justice system is not the best way to arrive at the truth.
casts a shadow over the TRC and over our legal system.]
But let me turn to the ethnic Afrikaner. In general. I do not consider the report suitable to convey the strategic context of my people's role in the conflict of the past. This affects our reconciliation.
We as a people have. through the ages of our existence, remained true to the simple idea of freedom from bondage, and to a system of cultural values which constituted our collective self- understanding, which was produced by our traumatic history and our love for this land, our perceived Heimat. For this we offer no excuse.
A few centuries ago we came from a war-torn Europe, with bitter religious strife between various cultures and languages. We came to the southern tip of Africa, not to colonise, but to become so- called "free burghers." Here in this country we were moulded into one people and became indigenous.
We have always searched for freedom from oppression. We moved back from Natal when the imperialist bulldog annexed it. We fought a war, futile and hopeless, but for our own. This war left us in devastation. When the new rulers tried to force assimilation into a bigger new culture and a world language, we resisted. For decades we fought a new battle against bitter poverty and cultural suppression.
We are therefore a product of our history. Our aspirations have been real and legitimate: so, too, our obsession to be in control of our own destiny. I am not asking for sympathy, nor I am suggesting that we do not have some liability for the past. We, all South Africans, must consider what went wrong, wrong, what was right and how we can avoid a repetition of this trauma in the future. This is possible only if the correct contextual relevance of our role in the conflict of the past is understood.
Grave mistakes were made and I am prepared to I admit this, such as ignoring the need for a more timely settlement with the people sharing the living space and the economy with us. Maybe we have redirected our quarrel with the British to the other inhabitants of South Africa. We certainly have erred in imposing self-determination on other people, using race as a criterion. And so I can carry on.
Yes. these mistakes were made. Yet this report fails to reach the heart of our Afrikaner peoples. Reasons for this might be cultural differences. alienation that resulted from the perception of one- sidedness and the lack of a clear visible strategy showing the way to reconciliation. We lost interest as the TRC lost its way towards reconciliation.
From this perspective, we Afrikaners are indigenous. We want to stay here. We are not perfect, but we are genuine and indeed honest. Our destination is to be formed in this country by ourselves and we therefore give reconciliation a high priority. We are determined to implement, in the internal self- determination mode and in accordance with the accord that we have concluded, the maximum powers of self-rule. This is a joint effort.
Laat ek dan ook my plig probeer nakorn teenoor die mense van my professie. die militere professie. Anders as die ideoloe, was dit vir ons geuniformdes van beide kante makliker om mekaar te vind. Op die hoogste vlak het ons ook formed hard gewerk op sock na begrip en dit gou reggekry.
Die uniformdraer aan beide kante is egter in die proses deur hierdie kommissie verneder. 0ns dade is gekriminaliseer. 0ns eerlike klassieke plig in oorlog is politiek-sielkundig afgekraak en so ook die eerbare professie waaraan ons behoort. Optredes oor grense heen word nou byvoorbeeld gekriminisaliseer,
Hierdie was nie 'n gewone oorlog nie. Dit was die warm deel van 'n koue oorlog en geeneen van die kommissarisse het genoeg agtergrond in die geveg. gehad nie om die verband te kon le tussen die dade op die grond en die politieke ideologiee van die stryd wat plaasgevind het. Natuurlik het ons optredes skade en littekens veroorsaak. Natuurlik moet ons dit regmaak, maar laat dit ons in die toekoms herinner aan die oorverhitte politieke ideologiee as ons moet saamwerk om dit uit te wis.
Ek sou baie graag die toepassing van die beginsel van regverdige oorlogvoering wou afhandel, maar ek gaan nie genoeg tyd daarvoor he nie. Ek wil net se die toepassing van daardie beginsel deur diegene in uniform, wat 'n persepsie gehad het van beide kante dat hulle 'n regverdige saak van beide kante gedien het, kan nie genegeer word nie. Dieselfde kan nie gese word van die ander aspek van regverdige oorlogvoeringsteorie nie, naamlik metodes van oorlog soos koue oorlog, revolusionere oorlogmetodes, massa-intimidasie gemik teen burgerlikes en sommige van die strategiese teenmaatreels wat ook van ons kant uitgelok is nie. Dit kan nie geregverdig word nie, al is 'n mens se saak hoe goed. As dit gebeur. en dit het, en amnestie met die sluit van vrede voorgeskryf word, moet dit nagekom word sender politieke bymotiewe, soos viktimisasie, propaganda en vergelding.
Ter afsluiting, 'n paar opmerkings oor versoening en amnestie. Met hierdie probleme moet ons terug na die kontrak, Wet 200 van 1993. Amnestiereelings sal hersien, uitgebrei en vereenvoudig moet word. Dit is ook goed om ook vir KwaZulu-Natal se konflik voorsiening te maak. 0ns kort hiervoor 'n Afrika-oplossing. Voorkeur moet verleen word aan mense in tronke wat op . amnestie wag. 'n Hofbeheerde stelsel wat vir 'n ; spesiale pleidooi vir amnestie voorsiening maak. is waarskynlik die regverdigste, goedkoopste en voor die hand liggendste opsie. Dil kan ook geld vir KwaZulu-Natal. Versoening sal die volgende vyf jaar van almal 'n sin van dringendheid vra. Ek stel 'n bestuursforum voor, bestaande uit leiers van politieke partye onder leiding van die Adjunkpresident wat werk in die rigting van die gedagte van 'n nasionale versoeningskonvensie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows. )
[Allow me also to attempt to do my duty with regard to the people of my profession, the military .As opposed to the ideologist, it was easier for our uniformed members from both sides to find one another. At the highest level we also worked hard formally in search of understanding and we achieved this quickly.
However, the uniformed members on both sides were humiliated in the process by this commission. Our deeds were criminalised. Our honest classic duty in war was denigrated in a politico-psycho- logical manner, as was the honourable profession to which we belong. For example, actions across borders are now being criminalised.
This was not an average war. It was the warm sector of a cold war, and none of the commissioners had sufficient background in the battle to be able to make the connection between the deeds on the ground and the political ideologies of the struggle which took place. Naturally our actions caused damage and left scars. Of course we have to correct this, but in future let it remind us of the overheated political ideologies if we have to co-operate to eradicate this.
I would very much like to deal with the application of the principle of fair warfare, but I am not going to have enough time for that. I would just like to say that the application of that principle by those in uniform, who had a perception on both sides that they were serving a just cause on both sides, cannot be ignored. The same cannot be said of the other aspect of fair warfare theory, namely methods of war such as cold war, revolutionary warfare methods, mass intimidation aimed at civilians and some of the strategic countermeasures which were also provoked from our side. No matter how good one's case is, these cannot be justified. If such things happen, and they did, and amnesty is prescribed upon the conclusion of peace, it must be adhered to without political motives, such as victimisation, propaganda and retribution.
In conclusion, a few remarks on reconciliation and amnesty. With regard to these problems we must return to the contract. Act 200 of 1993. Amnesty arrangements will have to be reviewed, extended and simplified. It is also a good idea to make provision for KwaZulu-Natal's conflict as well. We need an African solution in this regard. Priority must be given to people in prisons awaiting amnesty . A court controlled system which makes provision for a special plea for amnesty is probably the fairest, cheapest and most obvious option. This can also count for KwaZulu-Natal. Reconciliation will require a sense of urgency from everyone for the next five years. I propose a management forum, consisting of leaders of political parties under the leadership of the Deputy President working in the direction of the concept of a national reconciliation convention.]
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Chairperson. today we are charged with a daunting and awesome responsibility. And much as some speakers have opened themselves to very easy hits, I am going to resist that temptation.
For the first time in the world, out of numerous efforts to find a way to a truth commission process, we have one, handled in this particular way, which was released immediately to the public and brought here timeously to Parliament to be debated, so that we could initiate a public debate around it. The eyes of the world are on us, Tony. There is no time to make cheap jibes. For instance, when Mr Omar was speaking and criticising the NP's contribution, its jibe was: What did the report say about the ANC? But I will come to that later.
I say the eyes of the world are on us today, because what we say here today and how we say it will shape the debate that has to take place in our society as an integral part of the process of reconciliation and reconstruction. We need to use the report of the commission, with whatever its flaws, critique it, but use it as a platform from which we will find ways to encourage the ongoing process of discovering the truth about our past.
We need to channel public debate so that the task of reconciliation becomes more and more inclusive and a responsibility of all our citizens, whatever their colour. We need to scrutinise the recommendations in order to see which ones contain inherent tensions and find ways to address them. We also need to demarcate those areas which remain unanswered or unaddressed and therefore need to be brought out into the arena of public discourse and debate.
Correctly, the process so far has hinged on the discovery of the truth as a bridge between the perpetrators and the victims. We in this Parliament have, as enactors of the legislation , give birth to the TRC.
Regrettably, when we look back we need to acknowledge amongst ourselves that many of us in this House failed our people because we could not resist the temptations to portray the TRC to our constituencies as a process of defending our past rather than assisting the process of discovery.
We must not make mistake today. Yes, there was a long and bitter conflict and war. One of the key obstacles to reconciliation has been the view propagated in this House that in this war there were two belligerent forces , and that then there was a large body of people who not part of the war, who were not part of the very system which brutalised and dehuminised every one of us and did so in different ways.
In this regard it is a stark reality that the white community has been nurtured to live in the belief that the past should simply be put aside. This has been underpinned by the following view: "I was not part of the system. I was not part of the war. Why should I share responsibility?" When such people are confronted by the realities of the system - that they generated the war - and by the history of colonialism in this country, they retreat into sullen defensiveness.
The idea that they were a group of people who did not know and who were neutral, is one of the greatest obstacles to achieving reconciliation. We in this House face the challenge of coming together to overcome this tendency and this incorrect perception in the public arena.
I am certain that Gen Constand Viljoen would acknowledge that in his own book there were only two types of South Africans: "Us" and "the enemy".
In war there is no neutrality in silence. [Interjections.] No, in war there is no neutrality in silence. We all took sides, even if it was just to keep quiet and live our lives, have families and make money. We all look sides. We were all involved and we must, together, deal with the unfinished business of the past.
There are those who will say: "I cannot help the colour of my skin. That I am white does not make me part of the system. Besides. I did not know." Let me not be misunderstood. I do not raise this question with a view to apportioning blame or to make such people acquire a guilty conscience. I raise it because the truth needs to be confronted, and without a commitment to truth, the past will blight our future
The issue arose, for example, with regard to Germany and the German people. Primo Levi. who survived Auschwitz, was questioned about why his books contained no expressions of hate for the Germans and desire for revenge. He was asked: Did the Germans know what was happening in Nazi Germany? This was his response:
In spite of the varied and many possibilities for information, most Germans did not know because they did not want to know, because, indeed, they wanted not to know.
[Applause.] He continued:
Those who knew did not talk. Those who did not know did not ask questions, and those who did ask questions received no answers.
In this way the typical German citizen won and defended his ignorance which seemed to him sufficient justification for his adherence to Nazism. Shutting his mouth, his eyes and his ears, he built for himself the illusion of not knowing, hence not being an accomplice to the things taking place in front of his door. Knowing and making things known was one way of keeping his distance from Nazism.
I think that the German people on the whole did not seek this recourse and I hold them fully culpable of this deliberate omission.
Are those who. as members of this House, have so far nurtured and perpetuated the I-am-clean constituency in our society, able to share the responsibility to remove this obstacle on the path of reconciliation? If we address this task together. we will be able to address the larger challenge of reconstructing our society and addressing poverty as a central concern.
We will then no longer he defensive when the facts show that whilst there is a measure of poverty in virtually every society, in our country poverty was racially determined and deliberately engendered amongst the oppressed black people. [Applause.) And then, without shame and guilt, we shall be able to stand up and acknowledge with Chomsky that freedom without opportunity is a devils gift. and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal.
Truth, reconciliation and the eradication of poverty are the building blocks of the future which we all so passionately want to bequeath to our children and their children, and we will have to pick up the blocks, even if we do not think it involves us because we never actually carried an R- 1 or an AK-47. We shaped the TRC so that the perpetrators of atrocities could come forward and speak the truth with the assurance that they could get amnesty, and yet many, far too many, failed to come forward, and the few who came forward often did so to avoid imminent prosecution.
Those who did not. however, more likely acted in that way because their political masters denied them the shield of acknowledging their responsibility for their foot soldiers. Let me tell Mr Van Schalkwyk that it is not true that they did not come forward because the extradition question had not been resolved. It was because those hon members did not give them leadership, because they walked away from their foot soldiers who did their dirty work. [Applause.]
Today that is why Deputy President Mbeki can say that whilst there cannot be blanket amnesty, there are generals prepared to walk into the new South Africa who have not yet applied for amnesty, because they say they were betrayed by their political masters. [Interjections.] The work of the Amnesty Committee is not yet finished, but we, as the elected representatives, can already see problems looming ahead. I ask: Do we have the leadership to offer a way forward?
Despite what the President and Deputy President have said. let me put forward an idea that should also be part of the debate in the public arena. We need to find a path for the people who have not applied for amnesty, yet want to find their way into the new South Africa. For people not interested in reconciliation there is a ready path in the criminal justice system, in which they have a right to exercise their choice and face the judicial consequences of that.
But. for the many others who would like to enter the new South Africa and who have not applied. how do we help to structure the debate amongst our citizens. I ask" I hope that the leaders of the relevant political parties in this House will not again desert them. Together we can take coresponsibility. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M W MOOSA: Chairperson. Madam Speaker. President of the Republic. President of the ANC. comrades and friends. I too would not want to respond to the cheap political points that have been made by the opposition parties. I have only one question to ask the opposition parties: What exactly is it in the TRC report that they are rejecting? Are they rejecting the thousands and thousands of people who came to the TRC to say that they suffered pain, that they suffered torture, that their loved ones were killed? What is that they are rejecting in the TRC report?
The TRC's findings are only based on what was placed before it. If the facts that were placed before the TRC inform it that apartheid was a heresy and a crime against humanity, is it that that they are rejecting? If it is that that they are rejecting, they will have to face the communities of our country, those who have in fact suffered these losses, who have suffered this pain. It is the opposition parties' loss if they do that. At the end of the day, cheap political points will not absolve them from that responsibility, which they, like all South Africans, will have to take with regard to this particular matter.
The concept of an independent truth commission was mooted by the ANC long before it was discussed in the pre-1994 negotiations. The ANC's commitment to the truth in the Stuart. Skweyiya and Motsuenyane commissions bear testimony to this.
As far back as May 1992. Prof Kader Asmal stated in a speech at the University of the Western Cape, and I quote:
We must take the past seriously as it holds the key to our future. The issue of structural violence, unjust and inequitable socio- economic arrangements cannot be dealt with unless there is a conscious understanding of the past.
When the Truth Commission was eventually formed, it was faced with a task of glacial proportions. Our ANC-led Government provided maximum co-operation and made every possible resource available to the commission to fulfil its immense task. Th commission has acknowledged . its appreciation to the Government for this co-operation and assistance.
From the onset, nobody was in doubt that human rights violations were perpetrated by all sides in the South African conflict. The ANC itself would not have made the unconditional apologies that it did make during its submissions to the Truth Commission were this not the case. But of greater certainty in the minds of all honest South Africans and the international community was the main finding of the commission that it was the apartheid state, its allies and the draconian machinery which were squarely responsible for the tragic conflict that haemorrhaged our country
The ideological basis of the apartheid state was immoral and indefensible and was declared by the' United Nations as a crime against humanity. I am glad to note that Mr Van Schalkwyk of the so- called New NP now subscribes to the view that the government that the NP headed for 46 years was immoral. Indeed, the commission has made exactly this finding. I hope that voters in the next election will make a note of that party which now wishes to contest an election to take over this Government.
Let us then contextualise for our detractors the findings the TRC made in respect of the ANC.The TRC required a legal framework on which to base its investigations. The only two available choices were international humanitarian law or the very apartheid legal system from which its work emanated. The TRC in its work , we believe, fail to make this important distinction when adjudicating upon the findings it was to make on gross human rights violations.
The best example is the combat situation between the armed forces of the liberation movement and the SADF. If MK soldiers and SADF soldiers shot and killed one another in a combat situation inside South Africa's borders, MK soldiers involved in the combat would apply international law and conventions as their legal basis. ANC soldiers did not recognise the unjust South African law which they had no part in drafting.
On the other side, the SADF soldiers invoked the its South African law in respect of their actions and claimed that they killed legally in terms of their responsibilities under the Defence Act. The problem created by this dilemma of the two legal frameworks was that MK soldiers had to apply for amnesty, but SADF soldiers did not have to do so. This unequal situation arose from the acceptance of transition to democracy within the context of the old South African legal system.
Clearly, to judge the actions of both sides to the conflict in terms of South African law alone is unfair and unequal. Such a legalistic application of law led the commission to make the finding that a death caused in legitimate active combat by an ANC soldier constitutes a gross human rights violation, whereas a death caused by an SADF soldier in active combat does not attract the same definition. In fact. thousands of deaths caused in this way by the SADF were not even recorded by the Truth Commission.
These also include deaths which were not caused in active combat, such as the cowardly Trojan Horse footings in the Western Cape in 1980, or when the apartheid police and the SADF mercilessly opened fire on huge crowds of innocent protesting people, such as the Sondela shootings in Sebokeng in 1990. The SADF simply argued that they were acting in terms of the law and were following instructions, and shirked their responsibility to the nation.
Thus, the manner in which the commission executed its task placed as much greater burden on the ANC than on the forces of the obviously immoral apartheid regime. This, simply put, is the basis of the objections raised by the ANC to the relevant sections of the TRC report. The objection is indeed, by any moral and international legal standard, and acceptable and legitimate objection.
The ANC created the TRC and underpinned its independence, and succumbs to its processes and its main findings. But the ANC does reserve right, as with any such process, to criticise the commission where it believes the commission has erred. Within this context, it can be hardly labelled as tyranny. It is unfortunate that the chairperson of the commission failed to see the point. This placed a damper on the interpretation of its report in what was otherwise the successful achievement of an immense task which has made a lasting contribution to peace and reconciliation in our beloved country.
After 300 years of slavery and repression under cruel and inhumane white rule. South Africa has come to the threshold of looking itself in the eye. One step of our work towards reconciliation is now nearing completion. Thousands of South Africans participated directly and indirectly in its formulation. Many millions at home and the world over were brought to tears by the renditions of pain, suffering and horror that unfolded before the TRC. People who are even remotely connected to our tragic past, both at home and abroad reached out their hands and shed their tears with us and felt obliged to take some responsibility for the abhorrent deeds committed by humanity against itself.
One section of our society must, however, hang their heads in shame for not finding the grace and the magnanimity to participate truthfully and honestly in this immense nation-building exercise. These are the judges, the magistrates and the legal fraternity of the old order. The judiciary claimed that their record of impartiality was satisfactory. They said that to ask the judges to participate in the TRC was senseless and unhealthy for coherent jurisprudence. Let us look a little deeper at this apparent satisfactory conduct of the judiciary, which claims that its hands were tied. Who bound them when they were listening to evidence of healthy men and women who came out of detention maimed or murdered ?
Only the police had sole custody of Neil Aggett, Imam Haroon, Steve Biko and hundreds of their patriotic South Africans when they died. When children like the four year old little Mita of Mamelodi and Ashley Kriel were shot at point blank range by police in township raids, the courts shamefully found that no one was responsible for these deaths. They took a supine attitude towards these and hundreds of other inquests. People were detained, tortured, raped, electrocuted and dehumanised to make written submissions of guilt to the police, and the courts allowed these confessions to be admitted even though they were not made freely and voluntarily. Thousands served long jail sentences because of these confessions.
They still convicted people for not reporting certain activities under the Suppression of Communism Act, even when by a long stretch of the imagination there was no legal intention present. We submit that the judiciary blatantly assisted and, indeed, were an extension of the state machinery of repression, thus violating fundamental human rights. They did not criticise the laws that they diligently upheld. On the contrary, they supported and encouraged state repression.
Of the thousands of such instances, I would quote the case in 1986 of Dennis Bloem and Another versus State President. Comrade Dennis Bloem was detained and his wife was also detained a few days later for merely attempting to enquire about his wellbeing at the police station. In the application for her release, the court had the following to say before dismissing the application:
So notorious has this resistance become that by virtue of its ongoing occurrence, and the wide publicity afforded thereto, the court of law can now take judicial notice of it . . .
Internal protests, including class boycotts at schools, universities and trade boycotts caused domestic turbulence, accompanied and intensified by mounting political , psychological , socio-economic and terror onslaughts upon the Republic from abroad, and domestic turbulence and foreign onslaught hurt the South African community and its currency
Using this argument, the court justified the declaration of the 1986 State of Emergency. Worse still, it ordered the further detention of Mr Bloem.[Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr A J LEON: Mr Chairman, Mr President and colleagues, the debate today was called to have a national response to the TRC report. Somehow it reminds one a little of the holy Roman Empire, which was described in its decline as being neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. Much of the debate today has not been national , but rather partial, ft has not been the whole truth, but a selective interpretation of that truth, and whatever else we might have achieved so far, it has not been about reconciliation.
But I am not here to deal with or pick up the whole burden of the debates, because other people have already spoken about this. But there has been a remark by the Minister of Justice which makes me depart from my text to deal with it. I think it is one of the most infamous remarks made in this Parliament since 1994.
The Minister said, and I quote: "Certain parties in this Chamber are graciously permitted to be here today." [Interjections.] And now it is being exacerbated by the ANC hacks at the back who cheer in acknowledgement. But the Minister of Justice is not a hack. He is one of the most senior ANC leaders and he was one of the principal architects who negotiated the constitutional settlement which led to the foundation of this Parliament.
When the Minister of Justice says that certain parties are graciously permitted to be here today, I say that is an infamous statement, because any government or minister who is gracious enough to permit you to be here today will be ungracious enough to take you away tomorrow. What will happen if this Minister and his party obtain the unfettered and unrestrained power which they are seeking in the May election, I shudder to think. [Interjections.]
I want the Minister also to take need of the fact ...
Mr T S YENGENI: [Inaudible.]
Mr A J LEON: I want to tell Mr Yengeni that I will speak on the report as I see it. He is not the Speaker - yet - and to be called a stupid fool by Mr Momberg is just a tribute that vice pays to virtue.
However, the Minister went further. He quoted from the report, saying that somehow the contribution of certain parties, indeed the white population per se, and those who were in it, was not one which could be looked at with any pride. I am referring to white leadership, white leadership that includes Mr Eglin, Mrs Suzman and everyone else.
However, let us see if they are going to quote from the report what the chairman of the TRC said about their organisation and their leadership. He said:
I did not struggle in order to remove one set of those who thought that they were tin gods and replace them with others who are tempted to think that they are. We would hope that they would know that the fact that they are a majority party in Government does not give them special privileges. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and there is no way in which one can assume that yesterday's oppressed will become tomorrow's oppressors.
The Minister uses a sort of NP narrow legal- technical defence by saying that it was not in the report. However, that was the direct response of Archbishop Tutu -not a DP member when I last checked the records, incidentally - to the ANC's attempt to prevent the publication of the report. The point is made directly, but he gives me the response: "It is not in the report."
However, Mr Maharaj who has just spoken - he made a very interesting speech if I might say so - said basically - this comes from the paradigm of Noam Chomsky and the Marxist left, and that is fine - the problem is that there is a supposition or an attempt to say that if one was not part of the struggle or directly involved against the struggle. then one was somehow neutral, and that is false. That is the burden of what Mr Maharaj was saying. [Interjections.] Hon members wonder where I was. [Interjections.]
I, in my inadequate and imperfect way, was attempting to use the platforms that were available, the same platforms that Minister Buthelezi used in the homelands, the same platforms used by Mr Momberg and all the former tricameral MPs who are sitting in the the South African ANC at the moment, and the same platforms the former homeland politicians, who grace their benches, were using in their own way. There was not only one way or two ways of responding to apartheid. To pretend that that was the case is an obfuscation of the truth, and does no justice to this debate.
Dr Zuma came here today and spoke about "the glorious army of our people. uMkhonto weSizwe". [Interjections.] [Applause.] When I last checked - maybe I am wrong: it is in the TRC report, but that might be wrong too - there were at least three armies of varying kinds and degrees of ability involved in that struggle against apartheid, and there was one defending. Therefore, there were actually four armies involved. However. ANC- speak says there is only one truth, there is only one army and there is only one form of participation in the struggle. Quite frankly, we are not prepared to accept that!
I knew more or less what was going on. I did what I could from where I sat to do something about it. [Interjections.] If that is not good enough for you, Mr Manuel, that is fine! I will be judged by the electorate in May, [Interjections.]
However, let me get to the report, because it is very important. Judge Didcott remarked the following in Azanian Peoples Organisation and Others v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others:
The object I have in mind is this. Once the truth about the inequities of the past has been established and made known, the book should be closed on them so that the catharsis thus engendered may divert the energies of the nation from a preoccupation with anguish and rancour to a future directed towards the goal which both the proscript to the Constitution and the preamble to the Statute have set by declaring in turn "the need for understanding, but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimisation
We in the DP supported the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We knew it would have its flaws and inadequacies. We realised that it might well have its own political biases. Given the nature of the work it was required to do, such imperfections were probably inevitable. However we supported it. because we believed that wrongdoing should always be exposed and that the crimes of the past should never remain hidden. We believed South Africa should know the details of the evil it has lived through.
The TRC has received many critical comments throughout its hearings, and indeed today. We are sympathetic to some of those criticisms. However, there is one comment, heard quite often I regret to say, for which I have no sympathy. This is the comment: "Let us forget about the past." We must not forget about that past. We must not forget one single horror which the TRC has exposed, not one single killing, not one single bombing, not one single torture, not one single necklacing, not one single mutilation and not one single lie should be forgotten. Every outrage must be recorded and committed forever to the memory of our nation. [Interjections.]
There are three reasons why we must never forget. The first reason is the simple principle, in which we passionately believe, of telling the truth. The second reason is that to forget the outrages is to forget the victims, and if we forget them, then we mock them with our indifference. We must not mock them. We should honour them. The third reason is that the atrocities of the past are lessons and warnings for the future. We must always remember them, so that we can understand them, and learn from them, so that we shall know how to prevent them from ever happening again.
We must say "never again" - never again the pain, the anguish and the suffering; never again a systematic assault on fundamental rights, freedoms and the human dignity of our people. However, we must also say never again to the delusions spawned by a morality of power so characteristic of the apartheid regime. The same morality of power, spawned by the systematic abuse of power, seems to be creeping through the back door of our new political dispensation on occasions. Never again must the morality of power of any political party be allowed to govern our lives or chart the destiny of our country in the manner in which it once did.
What are the lessons that we should learn from the grim catalogue of horror? In fact, they are quite simple. The first lesson of the Truth Commission is .. about the abuse of power. We must guard against the abuse of power. We must protect the institutions which check the abuse of power. We must always recognise the corrupting tentacles of power. In fact, the Truth Commission report consists of approximately 3 500 pages, but one can sum it up in three words: "Abuse of power". [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Mr Chairman. President Nelson Mandela, hon members, I am disturbed by the response that we are getting from leaders from the white parties, leaders such as Leon and hon Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
The one thing that we must accept if we want to talk about reconciliation is that, except for a few white democrats, the entire white, apartheid, political, social, economic and cultural establishment, including white business, white labour, the media, the churches, the schools, the universities. the judges, the magistrates, etc, has blood on its hands. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
That is why it is very disconcerting that some of them, like the DP, think that blacks are so stupid as to believe the lie that their hands are clean. The fact is that they are as guilty as the whole white apartheid establishment. As a party of renegades, apostates and turncoats which has always stood for white privileges, the DP never supported democracy. [Interjections.] [Applause.]Their liberal forebears pursued a policy of qualified franchise. [Interjections.] They repeatedly took oaths . . . [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mr Mokaba could you please take a seat for a moment? I would like to appeal to the members to bear in mind that the whole nation is listening to this debate. It is very important for people to hear what the speaker is saying. It is important for the following speakers to hear what the speaker is saying, because they would probably want to respond to that. If I may offer advice, those who have some comments to make can channel them to following speakers of their parties who can, of course, take them up.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Ntale. ho jwalo. [It is so. Sir.] [Laughter.)
The CHAIPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Thank you very much. Sir.
Mr A J LEON: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Mr Mokaba described members of my party as being turncoats and renegades. I put it to you that describing members of Parliament like that is unparliamentary. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER: Chairperson, we will give them evidence of that.
Mr A J LEON: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order: Mr Mokaba has just acknowledged the point, Sir. Could you make a ruling?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mr Mokaba, would you withdraw the point?
The DEPUTY MINISTER: That they are turn- coats? [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Please address the party, but not the individuals.
The DEPUTY MINISTER: Chairperson, may I explain what I mean? All the diehard racists from this party are now in the New NP there. Are they not turncoats? Are they not apostates with regard to their own old ideology? Are they not apostates? Is the hon member not their leader? [Interjections.] [Applause.]
I am saying their forebears pursued a policy of qualified franchise. They repeatedly took oaths alongside the NP to uphold the apartheid constitution. When the NP so required of them. they expelled blacks from their ranks in order to meet the apartheid specification of an unaffected political party. They have proudly posed for pictures with the SADF units in Caprivi. Namibia, in support of that army's terrorist mission there. Through Mr Philip Myburgh. their spokesperson on defence, they praised, defended and supported the 1982 SADF Maseru massacre. [Applause.] Through another spokesperson. Harry Schwarz, they praised and defended the massacre of Cassinga. Now they say their hands arc clean. Are their mouths clean? (Interjections.]
It is this type of leadership that is not taking South Africa anywhere. A type of leadership that is reneging, from taking responsibility for the things that we need to do to build a better future for ourselves.
The good work of the TRC is also somewhat blotted by significant errors such as historic assessments that falsely equate apartheid activities with liberation actions and thereby wrongly criminalise legitimate defensive action of our freedom struggle.
Our contribution to this debate, which is where I wanted to start, is in honour of our late president. O R Tambo . . . [Applause] . . . an African, an inter- nationalist, a revolutionary and a visionary of all times. It is also a tribute to the youth of this country. those young lions who dared death to bring freedom to all of us who are sitting here. [Applause
The time has come frankly to address ourself as a nation to the experiences of the past so that we are better able to bring closer the realisation of our common aspiration - the restoration of human dignity, reparation, a forgiving and caring nation, the restoration of power to and its maintenance in the hands of the people, and the destruction or obliteration of the legacy of the evil, criminal and degrading system of apartheid and the crushing burden of poverty. [Interjections.] I will come to that hon member. [Interjections.]
Where do we begin? If we want to address this situation, we must. first and foremost, accept that apartheid was not a mistake. It was a criminal system against humanity. The hon Marthinus has not yet accepted that. To say it was unjust does not say anything. It was unjust, because it was criminal. Once one accepts that, one is moving. [Interjections.] It was not a mistake, but a deliberate policy of the NP and the whole white establishment in the same way that Nazism was in Germany. [Interjections.]
Accordingly, as the international community has recognised, the war waged by that nefarious system against the vast majority of our population was not merely a matter of domestic concern. Any conflict which arose in South Africa could not be described as a civil war but, as the late President Tambo observed during the ANCs signing of the Geneva Convention, as a war of national liberation for self- determination based on the Freedom Charter.
[Applause.] The hon Mr Viljocn should note that. as Article 1 of the Protocol of 1977 recognises, it was an armed conflict in which peoples were fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation and a racist regime in the exercise of their right to self-determination.
As the late President O R Tambo pointed out too - this is very significant with regard to the conduct of the struggle by the ANC - we never identified our enemy in terms of a people, a race or an individual. The enemy was always the system of apartheid, the system of domination. [Applause.] It is for these reasons that we are saying to them that we fought a just war using just means, and it is on this score that we do not agree with the assessment of the TRC. [Interjections.]
Dr E A SCHOEMAN: Then why did you shout "Kill the farmer, kill the boer"?
The DEPUTY MINISTER: My time is running out, so let me say that the apartheid system also has to be acknowledged as a system that left a serious legacy for our people, a legacy of poverty, a legacy of homelessness, a legacy of youth who were taken out of the education system, and it is these things that we must deal with if we want to talk about truth and reconciliation in a meaningful way.
I would like to say to our Comrade President that we are ready to forgive and, as he has pointed out, not to forget, but only when they accept the basis of our pain. They should not argue with us about our pain. They must listen and understand what we suffered at their hands, and that is when we, the youth, who will live with them in the future will begin to reconcile.
With regard to the hon Marthinus, I met with him, with the ANC Youth League, together with the AWB Youth League, and we all agreed that we had a common future. Unfortunately, today it is only S J Grobler from the AWB who has crossed to the ANC. whereas the hon Marthinus has remained where I left him. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! ! I do want to appeal to the next speakers, that while I appreciate that this is a very intense debate, it is important that hon members should avoid reflecting on each other us much as is possible
Bishop M S MOGOBA: Chairperson. President Mandela, I believe that the TRC was this country's boldest venture and that, on the whole, it was fairly successful in reconstructing this nation after centuries of uncertainty and real conflict. The world around us stood in amazement at our country's achievement and expressed appreciation of and great admiration for the result of our experiment in human relations. At many international conferences South Africans were asked to share their experiences and perceptions. The Truth and Reconciliation commissioners were persons of integrity. A fair number of them were my former colleagues and even friends. I myself, modesty aside, nearly became a commissioner.
The TRC unavoidably opened the wounds of many families who were hurting in silence. The skeletons of this country came tumbling out of the cupboards. Some of us who had experienced the terrible side of the apartheid repression knew some of the truth, but only a fraction of the truth.
I was imprisoned in the cells in Pretoria at the same time as Looksmart Solwandle Ngudli, one of the first victims of killings in prisons. One of his fellow prisoners was a close witness. He heard him cry aloud in a nearby cell during torture, and was told that the same fate awaited him. Later he was taken to the mortuary to identify him, and then he was returned to the interrogation cells
Many stories can be told. and are going to be told for generations, about Robben Island. Perhaps the most gruesome of these is the one about Mr Johnson Mlambo of the PAC . . .
An HON MEMBER: The true story is known! Bishop M S MOGOBA: This is serious. Mr Mlambo’s eye was damaged permanently.
An HON MEMBER: We know the true story! [ Laughter.
Bishop M S MOGOBA: One day . . .
Mr N M MUENDANE: Chairperson. on a point of order: Is it parliamentary. brotherly or even reconciliatory for members of a former liberation movement to make fun of the leader of another liberation movement during a discussion on reconciliation" [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! No. it is not. I do appeal to members not to ridicule the very serious experiences that people have gone through. This is a very serious matter
Bishop M S MOGOBA: This is a serious and solemn debate. One day I will tell this nation how I was tied to a "horse" and had my backside brutally torn after being sentenced to six lashes for daring to report the truth about conditions in prison.
To put a spotlight on our ugly past was the main task of the TRC. Its other, perhaps more important, task was to bring reconciliation to our nation. This remains the unfinished assignment of the TRC.
In 1981, when the word "reconciliation" was most unpopular, I remember addressing a meeting in Diakonia in Durban on this subject. I myself became very unpopular, even suspected by many. Reconciliation is a deeply spiritual concept which involves suffering, sacrificial giving and sharing of all that we have. It involves atonement and reparation. It is a pity that the work of the reparations committee is restricted by the lack of funds. We need to revisit this problem and enable the reparations committee to continue with this important work. We need to call on all the religious bodies and non-governmental organisations to undertake this task, of course, with financial help from the Government and other sources.
Another unfinished task is the problem of the many freedom fighters who are still languishing in our prisons. Now that the TRC work is finished - or is about to be finished - it is time, perhaps, to call on our President, perhaps as a farewell gift or gesture, to give Presidential pardon to these prisoners from the liberation struggle. Many grieving families would be eternally grateful to our President for that. I also want to say that this argument and this discussion must be separated from the discussion on general amnesty. I am not talking about general amnesty.
In conclusion. I wish to make a serious and earnest appeal to our nation to close this chapter of our history. For more than two years, we have been living the past. This was necessary. We cannot, however, remain a nation that laces the past and walks backwards into the future.
We have great challenges awaiting us. Hordes of all kinds of criminals from within our country and from all over the world have already infested our country. These bloodthirsty, bloodsucking parasites are draining our energies and resources.
We owe it to ourselves and to posterity to make a clear and determined break with the past. One last thing that we can do is to erect a huge monument of liberty in remembrance of all those who have sacrificed their lives in the struggle for freedom, for peace, justice and human rights. That would be a fitting historic landmark. That would announce to all that never again will we allow oppression and the killing of man by man and woman by woman, and that we offer ourselves as vehicles for spreading peace and human rights through this country, through Africa as a whole and all over the world. [Applause.]
Rev K R MESHOE: Mr Chairperson, hon President. Deputy President and members of Parliament, I believe that this debate today is the most important that this new democratic Parliament has ever had. This is so because it has the potential of ushering in lasting peace, forgiveness and reconciliation, which we are hoping and praying for. or the potential for further dividing the nation on racial and tribal lines, which is something we do not want.
The arming of supporters with weapons in contravention of the law was done by political movements both to the right and left of the political spectrum. Casualties who suffered pain and loss of life. were caused by members and supporters of these groups. Some speeches by leaders of different political groupings had the effect of inciting supporters of their organisations to commit acts of violence, and they did exactly that.
Violations of human rights which were committed by some parties were repeatedly exposed on television, while others were not. Parties whose members were involved in acts of violence were not treated equally.
It is a fact that the TRC has been used by certain political parties as a political tool designed to discredit their opponents. The activities of the TRC have focused primarily on the black and white conflicts, while ignoring the black-on-black violence that resulted in the necklacing of hundreds, if not thousands, of people, among them many innocent people who were suspected of being spies, sellouts or collaborators.
Where are those people who necklaced innocent men and women who belonged to parties they did not like? Why did the TRC not demand their appearance so that the public could know what they did? Why did they not come forward to apologise as others were required to?
It is ironic that the TRC holds the leader of the IFP, hon Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in his capacity as the leader of the IFP,. accountable for the gross violations of human rights committed by members or supporters of his organisation, while the same is not done in respect of the leaders of other parties. To single him out as a leader is both unfair and unjust. It will create unnecessary tensions and conflicts, especially if attempts are made to prosecute him.
I cannot see how justice and reconciliation can be achieved with selective prosecutions. The only solution I see is to close this painful chapter of our past by giving amnesty to all those perpetrators. I clearly heard both the President and the Deputy President say they did not contemplate granting general amnesty, but I want to request - I am not demanding this - that they reconsider their position.
The TRC gave amnesty to 37 ANC leaders who did not disclose what they had done. They did not give specific and detailed accounts of their actions as was required. So nobody can say amnesty cannot be given to all. Because the TRC did it for the ANC, they can, and should, do it for all affected parties.
I want to plead with the President, his deputy and members of this Parliament to ensure that we bring , this painful process to an end by agreeing to forgive one another and our enemies. Let us talk about how restitution and reparation should be made, but let us not talk about selective to prosecutions. For the sake of the future of this country ,let us admit that mistakes were made and abuses committed by many of those who worked for the previous government and many of those who were violently opposed to the previous government. Either we support the prosecution of all those who were guilty of human rights violations, or we do not support the prosecution of a few unfortunate ones who do not belong to the right party.
Although some people talk easily about revolution, what our country needs is not revolution, but revival. Revolution will destroy what we have achieved so far and it will rob us of the opportunity of being an example of peaceful coexistence to the rest of the world
Although it may not be politically correct to call for a day of prayer, repentance and reconciliation, it will be the right thing to do. South Africa will not have genuine reconciliation without the help of God the Almighty. Reconciliation has to start in the heart of every individual. No piece of legislation, law or politician can change the heart and attitude of anyone: only the Lord Jesus Christ can. That is why, for the sake of our future, I request the President seriously to consider calling for a day of prayer, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Among the different faiths, the TRC found that Christianity, as the dominant religion in South Africa, promoted the ideology of apartheid in a range of different ways that included biblical and theological teaching in support of apartheid. To say Christianity promoted the ideology of apartheid is absolute rubbish. The TRC should have specified which groups and denominations promoted such an ideology, because they know them [Injections.]
Such generalisations that can mislead the ignorant and uninformed will not, help, but will hinder reconciliation. I agree that some churches and other faith groups failed to confront the previous government on the sin of apartheid, as they are failing again today . . . [Interjections] . . . to confront the present government which indirectly promote, immorality and promiscuity with some of it; proposed laws and policies. [Interjections]
An HON MEMBER: Where were you?
Rev K R MESHOE: On behalf of the ACDP, I wish to ask members of all parties in this House to put the interests and the future of South Africa before our narrow political goals. We have all committed ourselves to finding solutions to our problems without raising emotions or inciting the members and supporters out there to commit acts of violence. All members of this Parliament must lead this nation on the road to lasting peace, reconciliation and nation-building
Mr J LV NGCULU: Mr Chairperson, Mr President. Deputy President, hon members, I dedicate my speech to Nkululo Njongwe, to Mpilo Maqekeza and many other cadres of uMkhonto weSizwe who died in the struggle. For our tomorrow, they gave up their today. These are the people who spent all their lives in the camps in fulfilment of the missions of the ANC. They were trained as cadres and soldiers of uMkhonto weSizwe. They endured all the tribulations, all the problems, and yet remained committed to and convinced of the correctness of the cause of the ANC.
Life was not easy. It was very difficult. They faced many trying conditions and shortages of supplies and sometimes mainly living on the basic diet of rice and beans. Yet we remained convinced of the cause. We all came out of the country angry and itching for action. We identified the enemy as Afrikaner, as a white.
In the camps of the ANC, the leadership of ANC taught us that the enemy was not the colour of the skin but the system of apartheid and those who defended it. [Applause.] Even though we were isolated from normal life, our morale always remained high. We all knew that the experience we were going through was indeed a stimulating one. We knew that whatever problems we were facing, history would absolve us. Many of those cadre today are found in this House, in our Government, in our security forces and in the Public Service at large.
As I stand here. my memory goes back to 31 January 1981, to the raid on Matola, where13 ANC members were killed. They were not in any base. They were in houses in a suburb of Maputo. Today I also recall 9 December 1982, when early in the morning, at 1.00am, commandos of the SADF raided Maseru. They left behind them a trail of destruction, a stunned nation and 42 people dead. Among those who died. there was a young girl. Matome Ralebetse. who was said to be the best student. She was a daughter of a Cabinet Minister of Lesotho.
The then chief of the SADF. Constand Viljoen. called that a pre-emptive strike to forestall ANC activities over the festive season, and yet we all know that those who were killed were innocent people from Lesotho and members of the ANC. They were also not found in any base. but in houses strewn all over Maseru.
While all these things were taking place, there were those who wore the mantle of the liberation movement, but were ineffective because of the bankruptcy of their policies, or lack thereof. For almost the entire period of the struggle, they barely fired a shot at the enemy, but emerged out of the woodwork in 1990 to wage a campaign of cowardly, indiscriminate terror against places of worship and white individuals that they claimed as legitimate targets. As self-styled heroes, they consistently attempted to undermine the TRC process. However, we knew, and we know, that their fear was because they realised the precipitous nature of their activities. They were concerned that their adventures were ill conceived and that the cutoff date was going to catch up with them. They know who they are.
Similarly, the IFP used every trick in the book to denigrate and undermine the TRC, even accusing it of being a circus. I hope that as we debate the TRC report today, some of these parties will reflect on the whole process. I hope that they have committed themselves to making a positive contribution to the debate. It is time to send a clear message to all victims, irrespective of colour or political persuasion, that they have not been forgotten. We make this call fully aware that ever critics of the TRC process have benefited from that very process.
The achievements of the TRC so far have exceeded our expectations. Without the amnesty provisions, some of the atrocities which we know about today might never have been revealed. The TRC has shed light on many of the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the apartheid regime. As a result of the TRC process, many South Africans now know the fate of their relatives, friends and comrades, many of whom disappeared without a trace. A fact which carries equal importance is that the entire world now has a better understanding of what this crime against humanity was.
It is against this background that we want to make ; a humble call on all parties, particularly all black opposition parties, to acknowledge the benefit of this TRC process. Reconciliation means that we all have to make sacrifices and co-operate with the process. This also applies to the PAC and the IFP, even if they contributed very little to our freedom and even if they deny our collective history. Only in this way will our democracy be unshakeable. [Applause
Mr D M MALATSI: Mr Chairperson, Mr President, Mr Deputy President and colleagues, I would like to start my speech by responding to what the Deputy President said earlier, namely that it was difficult to find people who had worked for the apartheid state. I would like to say to the Deputy President: "Yes, Mr Deputy President, it is difficult today, because they do not want to come out into the open."
I worked for the apartheid state as a mayor and as a councillor from 1985 to 1989. I worked for the apartheid state not as an informer, but as a member of the parliament of a Bantustan homeland. Today I see seated on both sides of the House people who played a part in apartheid systems in the past. Minister Maharaj was right when he said that we all took sides. Nobody was neutral. Some of my colleagues on my right worked for apartheid systems which formed part of the old homeland system, as did colleagues on my left. So there is no one today who was neutral. They may be ashamed to admit that they worked for the apartheid state, but we did do so then. [Interjections.] I also did. In 1985 I worked as a radio announcer for the SABC and read the news as it had been prepared for me. [Applause.]
Ngithokoza bona ngithole ithuba la namhlanjesi. Mhlazana zingu 2 Feberbari 1990 isichema esidala seNP kilePalamende, la ngijame khona narnhlanjesi, ngephimbo laloyo owaye angumongameli uNomzana F W De Klerk ,savula zoke inhlangano ezazivalwe umlomo, umlomo. Ngokwenza lokho ,njenge sakhamuzi seSewula Afrika , ngabona bonyana utjho into esingazange siyibone njengabantu beSewula Afrika . Ukubona bona into ayikhulumako liqiniso, ngathola ithuba lokubana ngifunisise bona beNP bakhuluma iqiniso nabathi batjhungulukile na? Lokho kungelinye lamabanga enza bona ngingene esichemeni seNP.(Translation of Ndebele paragraph follows)
I am grateful to have been given this opportunity today. On 2 February 1990 the old NP in this Parliament, through former president Mr F W de Klerk, announced from the podium I am standing on today that all banned organisations were being unbanned. When, as a citizen of South Africa, he did that, I realised that he was saying something that we, the people of South Africa, had not expected. I got an opportunity to find out whether he was telling the truth and whether the NP was telling the truth when they said that they had changed. That was one of the reasons why I joined the NP.
The first time I saw a picture of Mr Mandela was on 11 February 1990. I had never seen a picture of him before. The newspapers in this country were not allowed to publish pictures of banned people. [Interjections.] When the NP said it had changed and that it accepted all political organisations, I was given an opportunity to participate. Today all of us here are standing, sitting and participating in debates in this Parliament. This was made possible by the intercourse between the NP and the ANC through which a climate conducive to this was established.
The TRC report is nothing but the culmination of exactly what happened in our country. It is the truth. It is bitter to some of us, and yet acceptable to many of us. But there is nothing provided for the reconciliation of our people. It has unearthed the truth, hut we are waiting for a direction or blueprint for reconciliation. We should all extend hands to each other in this House and say: This is the path we need to walk on in order to realist- reconciliation in this country.
The report also does not lake into consideration even the so-called miracle transformation of South Africa. There is no reference to the miracle transformation that took place in this country where previously polarised communities have been able to find each other across the divide and to bring about change in this country without any violence. I feel the TRC would have done all of us a better service. The world admires the miracle of South Africa and its leadership, which is not admired by the TRC. I think we owe it to ourselves to admire and take note of the fact that we are part of history-making in this country.
The report does, however, show that the majority of the people who stayed in the country and suffered the injustices of apartheid also paid the price to bring about the results of the struggle for all the people of South Africa. It is not only those who fought with guns and AK-47s who brought about the liberation of all the people in this country. Even the victims of apartheid also paid the price by remaining in this country.
The adoption of the new Constitution lays a secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divide and strife of the past which generated gross violations of human rights and transgressions of humanitarian principles in violent conflicts, as well as the legacy of hatred, fear, guilt and revenge. I think that we as members of Parliament need to really transcend the divide by not creating an impression that we do not talk to each other. People who watch us on television see people who never talk to each other - they only see people who fight. They never see us drinking tea together. They always see people on the one side shouting at the people on the other side. I do not think that that is the spirit in which we were supposed to debate today.
I personally believe that reconciliation is needed, not only at an individual level nor only within and between individuals, but also within and between communities and the nation as a whole. A young man from Bongolwethu township in Oudtshoorn. when he was asked what reconciliation meant to him as a young man, told the TRC that reconciliation meant people forgiving each other and working together as one nation, and that it did not matter what one had done to the other in the past. He continued to say that at some stages it did matter. [Interjections.]
That is an ordinary viewpoint of a man from Bongolwethu on how he sees reconciliation. To this young man , reconciliation meant that the many people who did not have education should be reached. Reconciliation starts with educating these people who are not educated, employing those who are unemployed, training those who are not trained and developing those who are not developed.
We all accept that there are inequalities as a result of our past. With reconciliation, we have to look forward.
Many years ago, the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize from South Africa. Nkosi Albert Luthuli. articulated a vision of South Africa as a "home for all her sons and daughters". This concept is implicit in the interim Constitution. Thus, not only must we lay the foundation for a society in which reconciliation means both material reconstruction and the restoration of dignity, but we must also redress the gross inequalities and nurture respect for our common humanity. It entails a sustainable growth and development of the spirit of ubuntu. We should show that we are really abantu.
That demands guarantees that the past will not be repeated, either in the form of reverse discrimination or something that is perceived as reverse discrimination. All of us as a nation that has newly found itself share in the shame of the capacity of human beings of any race or language group to be inhumane to other human beings. We should all share in the commitment to a South Africa in which that will never happen again.
In his submission to the TRC, Justice Pius Langa. the Deputy President of the Constitutional Court, summed it up perfectly when he wrote of his life under apartheid. He said, and I quote: I was never able to understand why, whilst a teenager I was expected to live in a men's hostel and needed a permit to stay with my parents in the township. The ugliness of living under apartheid laws was exacerbated to a large extent by the crude, cruel and unfeeling way in which many of the officials, both black and white, put them into operation. There was a culture of hostility and intimidation against those who came to be processed. The face presented by the authority, in general, was of a war against people where human dignity was the main casualty.
We need to restore the dignity of: the people of our country, black and white, because we all suffered under the system. To have been a victim of the old policies of a political party and to- rise and be in a position where today I can claim co-responsibility for the policies of the New NP is an achievement for all South Africans. [Interjections.] For all South Africans!
The fact that I am a member of the New NP need not be perceived by my colleagues on the other side as a betrayal. I have not betrayed anyone. [Interjections I am exercising my rights as a free individual in South Africa, the rights for which President Mandela went to prison. He remained in jail for 27 years so that I should be free to exercise freedom of association.
It is unfortunate if I have not chosen the party of the President. I want to say to the President that I am exercising a right which he has stood for his whole life. I admire him for that, but I want my colleagues to understand that I am happy to be in the party that I am in. [Interjections'
The hon Mokaba says that he believes that the New NP is still a white party. I want to say to the hon Mokaba that if he had put on his glasses, he would have seen that next to Marthinus van Schalkwyk was sitting a black man. Therefore there is no way in which the New NP could automatically be a white party. [Interjections.]
A lot of expectations about reparations have been raised. I want to say to the President that I come from a party that has a history coming from another party, the old NP. [Interjections.] The point is that expectations of reparations have been raised among many people and victims of human rights violations of the past, and I would like to say that people should not expect that. The TRC living commissioners, not the ANC. at various other to a hearings always gave undertakings to people that they would receive reparations.
Now these people hear about symbolic reparation. They understand "symbolic" only to mean that one will be thanked, that is all , a pat on the back. I believe some victims have families that need education and bursaries for their children to go to school. They should be assisted, because we believe that we are reconstructing the country.
The President said we need an RDP of the soul. I want to believe that many people on this side who are more bitter than anyone else are those who maybe spent 14 days in solitary confinement, not the whole of their lives. Some of them do not even know what it is to feel the bitterness of jail, and they are the ones who are making the most noise. There are those who have paid with many years of their lives and who are seated here and listening. [Interjections.] As for many of the hon members on that side, I have never seen them raise their voices or a finger in defence or in criticism of anything.
Let us all rise to the occasion. South Africa expects it of us, and we need it. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE: Mr Chairman, Comrade President, Comrade Deputy President, hon members, the oldest human truth is still the most important: "Thou shalt not kill."
It is 6 000 years old, it is in all the religions, it is the prime truth: "Thou shalt not kill." Yet there have been times when the commandment has had to be broken: times when nations and people have been faced by something so bad, so evil, that it had to be fought and destroyed. Apartheid was such an evil.
The horrors depicted in the TRC report bear witness to that evil. What causes a people to fight hack? The great Chief Luthuli once asked how long one could continue knocking patiently on a closed door that remain forever shut.
uMkhonto weSiswe declared, in its manifesto of 1961:
A peoples patience is not endless. There comes a time in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices - to submit or fight - and that time has now come in South Africa.
Ours was a just war in a just cause. When one moves to armed conflict, however, one still has a moral responsibility to avoid atrocities and to wage war without committing crimes against humanity.
The whole world knows how the apartheid regime waged war. It brutally waged war against our people and it devastated the region. For good reason, as the President has reminded us today, apartheid was characterised as a crime against humanity.
We were a liberation movement with few resources, operating under extremely difficult conditions. We did our utmost to avoid needless bloodshed. We never indulged in indiscriminate killing as a policy. The ANC strove to minimise the loss of life and avoided a race war.
But we remember Bisho, and no one is perfect. There were mistakes. They happen, to some degree, in any struggle throughout history, and usually under extreme provocation when it comes to a liberation movement.
We all have things to look back on, to admit and to regret. The ANC has expressed regret where civilians fell through our actions. I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery today of a former member of the SA Air Force, injured in what has been called the Church Street bombing at the Air Force Headquarters. He is Mr Neville Clarence. [Applause.] We salute him and thank him for being present in the gallery. Mr Clarence has demonstrated reconciliation and friendship with the MK commander who planned that action.
But to equate the acts of MK with those committed in order to maintain apartheid is to turn history on its head. It is like branding as terrorists the resistance fighters who fought Nazi occupation and who are certainly honoured by history. Like them, we never pursued violence for the sake of violence. We were fighting for the peace and democracy we now all enjoy. We always appealed to reason and called for humanity and justice. It is unfortunate, hon member Gen Viljoen - and we say this to most of the members of that SADF, and indeed to most white South Africans - that apartheid prevented the message of the ANC from reaching the ears and the minds of the people who voted for apartheid. We always appealed to reason. The 1961 MK manifesto said:
We hope that we will bring the government and its supporters to their senses . . . before matters reach the desperate stage of civil war.
It took thirty years to force those who created apartheid to negotiate. Let hon member Tony Leon note that we forced those who pretended to dislike apartheid, and who made profits off it. to seek change. We convinced those who did nothing at all and were guilty of the sin of silence to accept change.
As a result of the struggle all of us now proudly represent our people in this democratic Parliament. protected by the finest Constitution in the world.
The TRC Report bears witness: The wrongdoers were the people who created the evil. The wrongdoers were not only the rotten apples who committed the atrocities. Those at the top cannot hide behind their foot soldiers.
The victims were the heroes who, despite intimidation, spoke out and took to the streets; who were banned and banished, exiled and imprisoned, tortured, assassinated, or who died with their guns in their hands.
The heroes were the ordinary people who suffered, who were stripped of their rights and dignity, who were forcibly removed, whose children were forced into Bantu education and robbed of the future: ordinary people, mothers and wives who waited outside the hanging prison in Pretoria in the faint hope of receiving the corpses of their loved ones: families who were never to know the fate of those who had gone missing until the awful truth emerged through the discovery of the secret graves, or the revelations of their sons' bodies having been burnt to ash or thrown into the river.
Robert Burns wrote two centuries ago of such iniquity: "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn." Apartheid was evil. If we are to be reconciled, the truth must be known. We have not buried or tried to forget the truth. We have brought it out into the open, so that our country can be reconciled and we can become one nation.
We welcome this report despite its flaws. Its authors have sometimes failed to appreciate the dilemma of the young freedom fighters who, at times, erred under enormous pressure and fear.
But we need to remember that, like the vast literature of the Second World War. this is simply the first step on the long journey towards truth, as the President has made clear.
I would like to come very briefly and very seriously to the hon member Gen Viljoen. We had a debate under the auspices of the TRC two-years ago and we disagreed on many things, but there was something the general said that day. He was upset at the extent of the investigating. He felt that more emphasis should be put on reconciliation, and there is merit in that. He knows from President Mandela that we are prepared to sit down with him and others to discuss this issue any time.
Gen Verwoerd . . . I am sorry. Gen Viljoen . . . [Laughter] . . . I offer my deep apologies to him . . . Gen Viljoen - I direct this to Tony - is concerned about the effects of the TRC process on the military of both sides. We can report - and I do so on behalf of the Minister of Defence - that within the new SA National Defence Force the wounds are healing. No Van Riebeeck almond hedge - I direct this to the hon the Deputy President - remains, separating black and white soldiers in our Defence Force now. [Applause.] In their unity, they now proudly protect all of our people, our sovereignty, our democracy and our country.
In concluding, I dedicate this speech to Phila Ndwandwe, a young mother, aged 20, who, unbroken in spirit, died a cruel and lonely death at the hands of apartheid killers on a farm outside Pietermaritzburg. Let us salute her memory and that of all those who perished in the struggle for our freedom. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER; Order! I now call upon the hon Mrs Camerer to address the House.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Madam Speaker, may I address you on a point of order? The SPEAKER: Order! Yes, you may speak, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Well, the Deputy Minister of Defence is our son-in-law So,
In terms of the Zulu culture I will praise him as : "Armed and dangerous" [Laughter] [ Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Order! I will refrain from trying to decide whether that is parliamentary or not. [Laughter.] Please proceed, hon Camerer.
Mrs S M CAMERER: Madam Speaker, Minister Buthelezi has a point. As far as the New NP is concerned, Deputy Minister Kasrils, to his credit, made the speech that we would have expected of the Deputy President.
In spite of the populist approach of some members, including the hon the Deputy Minister Mokaba, the ANC has expressed the hope that this debate would concentrate fully on reconciliation and reparation. We in the New NP fully agree with these guidelines and have been consistent in our approach that, for the sake of the future of our country and nation-building, the main focus of the TRC should have been on reconciliation, an aspect which we, as our leader has pointed out, unfortunately believe has not been their strongest point. We must now take the process forward.
However, as Deputy Minister Kasrils is presumably painfully aware, there is no doubt that the TRC process has got into its biggest mess over amnesty, and this is a mess that has not yet been cleared up. Factors contributing to this mess include the fact that the commission was dilatory in establishing the infrastructure for the Amnesty ' Committee. Not enough Amnesty Committee members and staff were appointed, although the commission was given the power to expand the amnesty operation early on.
There is also the question of the apparent unevenness of amnesty decisions. In granting amnesty, the committee, in many cases, appears to have ignored the Norgaard principles, which require proportionality between the deed and the political motive. For example, it is hard to believe that Norgaard came into the picture when the perpetrators of the St James Church massacre were given amnesty.
Huge backlogs were allowed to build up, which has necessitated extending the life of the Amnesty Committee- for how long, one does not know. The target date of June this year is clearly hopelessly unrealistic. Of the over 7000 amnesty applications, only 165 amnesties had been granted at the time of the publication of the TRC report. There are still over 1 000 applications unheard, many of which will require open hearings.
Perhaps the worst amnesty debacle to date concerned the hurried, hole-in-the-wall granting of amnesty by the TRC to the Deputy President and 36 other ANC leaders. The way this happened was perhaps best described in the Deputy President's own words when he told Parliament on 3 June last year, and I quote (Hansard, National Assembly, col 3759):
The list of approximately 36 or 37 people, or whatever the correct number is, is not the list that the ANC compiled. That list was put together by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission . . . We will go back to the amnesty committee and make this point . . . We will change the list.
The Deputy President is renowned for the obscure way he puts things, but this takes the cake. [Interjections.] Be that as it may, as a demonstration of its bias, the TRC's Amnesty Committee actively took this list and granted the 37 ANC leaders on the list amnesty, and the New NP had to go to court to get these grants of amnesty declared invalid, because the applications did not comply with the TRC Act as they did not make full disclosure of the deeds for which they applied for amnesty. Where this leaves the matter still needs to be clarified. In its report the TRC states laconically that –
. - the matter was referred back to the Amnesty Committee for reconsideration. We do not know if the ANC leadership did in fact go back to the Amnesty Committee, as the Deputy President suggested, and what transpired thereafter.
The question the Deputy President has still not answered is what he and the ANC leadership are going to do about the fact that, as we sit here today, they may be open to both criminal charges and civil claims for deeds done during the conflicts of the past. [Interjections] In his amnesty application, the Deputy President states that he himself applied for no specific acts, omissions or offences and where dates and places are asked for, he states: not applicable". This is reassuring, because I am sure none of us would like to see our new President to a TRC public hearing. [Interjections.)
Clearly, the Amnesty Committee is unlikely to get to these hearings before he takes office. The position of the new head of the Defence Force and of Cabinet Ministers is apparently not so clear, all of which indicates that the mess must be cleared up as a matter of urgency.
Interestingly enough, the names of the ANC leaders initially granted amnesty do not appear on the list of 165 names of amnesty grantees included in the TRC report, with a footnote saying that these amnesties were subsequently thrown out.
Although the TRC in its report praises the ANCs leadership for taking collective responsibility - which, incidentally, is not provided for in the Act - it then complains, justifiably it seems, that it received very few statements from ANC leaders giving details of struggle deeds.
It also seems that the amnesty process is heading for further trouble. A number of top ANC spokespersons, prominent among them Minister of Justice, Dullah Omar. are currently flying kites about a new special "designer" amnesty process for KwaZulu-Natal. It would apparently apply only to those involved in conflicts in KwaZulu- Natal. Judging by what he said in Parliament today, it seems that they have been sent out to fly these kites by the Deputy President. [Interjections.]
According to the newspapers. Minister Omar has suggested that the new process should not be too technical or legalistic, which is rich coming from the Minister of Justice. It is also interesting to note that he is suggesting confessions in camera for KwaZulu-Natal amnesty applicants. Ironically this is exactly what the New NP negotiators on the TRC legislation proposed from the very beginning. We motivated our case based precisely on the further trouble which public confessions and hearings could cause in KwaZulu-Natal. I recall vividly how we were arrogantly contradicted by Dr Alex Boraine and the ANC members of the justice committee at the time.
Any special deal for KwaZulu-Natal would completely contradict both the ethos and provisions of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act and undermine the purpose of the Act which, after all. is the achievement of national unity and reconciliation. It would also clearly be unconstitutional in many respects and run counter to item 22 of Schedule 6 of the Constitution.
The indication given by the President that the ANC is considering proposing amendments to the TRC legislation in order to accommodate - applications for amnesty by organisations and institutions, presumably on the basis of collective responsibility, is also an interesting one. Ironically, this was precisely what was proposed by both the New NP and the FF at the time of the negotiations on the TRC legislation. At that time it was turned down flat by the ANC, but now the President has identified it as an omission. We heartily agree with him. We told them so years ago! This development might also go some way towards meeting the problems of extradition.
What we need to do is to take a bold initiative to get the amnesty process behind us. It needs creative thinking and consensus among all stake-holders. We need to put this amnesty process behind us so that we can concentrate on reparation, healing, reconciliation, nation-building and national unity. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms M VERWOERD: Mevrou die Speaker, president Mandela, adjunkpresident Thabo Mbeki, kamerade en gaste in die galery . . . [Madam Speaker, President Mandela, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, comrades and guests in the gallery . . .]
Today I want to speak in my mother tongue as a proud young Afrikaner, as well as a very proud member of the ANC. [Applause.]
(Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows. )
[Today I would like to dedicate my speech to Fritz Schoon, who, at the age of three, saw his mother and little sister blown up by a letter bomb which was sent to them by the then government. Fritz was later found in a confused state, wandering about near the scene.
I spent much of my childhood on the farm of my grandparents where on many nights, next to the coal stove, I listened to stories from the past, stories about the Afrikaner's pride, courage and bravery during the many wars which were fought. There were, however, two matters which filled my grandmother with great bitterness. The one was that she could never visit the grave of her brother who was shot during the Second World War. "If only I could know where he is buried", she often sighed.
The second was the issue of the Boer Wars, as called them. It was not so much the fact that her father was held prisoner or that my female ancestors suffered in the concentration camps, but the fact that the English never acknowledged or apologised for the suffering of the Afrikaner
During the past three years we in South Africa have been confronted with the atrocities of our fellow South Africans. Night after night we have seen the virtually unbearable pain and anger on our TV screens. So often I heard my grandmother's words in the voice of a mother who only wanted to know where her son was buried or where the bones of a loved one could be found so that one could say a final goodbye. But this time it was not a foreign power from outside, but our own people, the deacon in the church who was the policeman, the grandson who was in the army, the father who was a security policeman who committed these horrific deeds.
Politically the country had to begin to face a painfully oppressed past. The wounds of the past had to be reopened to finally help heal the sores. On the one hand the victims had to have the I courage to open the old wounds so that others , could listen and understand, and on the other, everyone who had supported the apartheid system I in the past had to begin to face the shocking truth. This is how one famous Afrikaner recently put it with great disillusionment: "When people, inter alia, start murdering their own colleagues, no self- respect is left any more." That which was the pride of the Afrikaner, his self-respect, has been dragged through the mud.
It is within this context that the NPs actions with regard to the Truth Commission were. and still are. so deeply disappointing, [Interjections.] While I believe that the TRC strove to the utmost to establish a culture of human rights and to cultivate moral sensitivity, the NPs reaction attests to moral blindness and deafness. How unspeakably insensitive were the words of Gerhard Koornhof of the NP when he said with regard to the task of the TRC. "This. at the end of the day, is their findings. This is the truth, but so what? Let us reconcile. Let us close the books. Let us go forward."
It was exactly this "so what" attitude that was once again brought to the fore this afternoon by the hon Van Schalkwyk, an attitude which has caused so much pain and to which one of my colleagues recently referred as a total lack of any true remorse.
An HON MEMBER: Now you are talking nonsense. You did not listen, man!
Ms M VERWOERD: Every apology of the NP has died the death of a thousand qualifications and, as was the case this afternoon, the greatness of this process, also in the hon Camerer's speech, has passed them by while they have desperately begun to look for shortcomings in the TRC with a legalistic magnifying glass. [Interjections.]
I want to tell the hon member Mr Van Schalkwyk that we should state very clearly this afternoon that to acknowledge that apartheid was immoral, is stating the obvious and is not the same as apologising unconditionally. [Applause.] Seen from a historical perspective, it is very disturbing to realise that this reaction is a continuation of a deep-seated, self-centered, exclusive victim mentality which attests to an inability to face the whole truth.
Nearly 86 years ago Emily Hobhouse, on the occasion of the opening of the Women's Monument, made a passionate speech in which she admonished both the British and the Boers to bridge the ethnic boundaries and acknowledge the suffering that had been caused to others. In the years which followed, any reference to this was removed by the ideologically driven NP. No mention was made of the nearly 13 000 black people who also died during the war, and so the South African war became the Boer War.
Just as it was 86 years ago, the NP's reaction today is still one of censuring and denial of the whole truth. For this reason the warning of Jose Zalaque is particularly apt when he says that remembrance is identity, but identity which contains false or half- of memories, very easily commits transgressions. In the years which lie ahead, judgement will often be passed on the NP. firstly for what was done in the name of apartheid.
Secondly, the NP will probably be judged more in the future for their reaction to the TRC process. As in the case of the thousands of black victims of the concentration camps, the NPs denial of the suffering of the apartheid victims is rubbing salt into the wounds of the latter. This is the same as spitting in the face of the victims. However, it is not only the victims who are going to pass judgement. but also the Afrikaners; those people who were actively part of the system, but also those people who merely supported the NP. because through their finely qualified denial of responsibility the NP have failed those people who were in the service of the system. As Brig Jac Cronje and three others put it in their amnesty application
We call on our superiors and the previous government not to deny responsibility, but to stand by the people and to admit responsibility for what was done by us in endeavours to keep them in power. We all supported the NP until 1994. What we had done was always in the interests of the NP and its objectives. We believed in the policies of the NP and believed we had to carry out our duties in support of our party. We state emphatically that we have been deserted by the NP and that we have, so to speak, been thrown away in the gutter where we now have to take the responsibility on our shoulders to deal with our past.
[Applause.] The NP failed to show leadership when the people who had supported them throughout the years needed it the most. The process has left most Afrikaners shocked and confused. It was, in the words of Antjie Krog, the same as driving behind a truck in the dark and in the rain. But in their darkest hours the Afrikaners were without a leader. The manner in which the former leaders renounced their followers has sparked an anger and a disappointment which, I believe, will still be with us for a long time. In the words of an Afrikaans letter writer to Die Burger:
Wat by die WVK uitkom, laat my verskeurd, bebloed en aandadig voel. Die haat wat ek teenoor die NP-regering begin voel, is so intens dat ek dit nie kan hanteer nie. Want ek is aandadig. Ek het vir hulle gestem, maar hulle hot ons mislei. Ek het altyd gewonder hoe voel die nasate van die Nazis. Nou weet ek.
And, just as happened in Germany, in the years to come many of our young people will turn their backs in shame on the NP. It is very tragic that once again this afternoon, the NP has not taken the opportunity to apologise unconditionally for the atrocities they committed. The NP almost gloatingly comes along with the charge that the TRC did not promote reconciliation, and that they would rather close the books. This clearly attests to a superficial concept of reconciliation with which all the NP members are still working.
Reconciliation is not like a gift which can be brought during the night by Father Christmas and left in front of our beds. It is a long, painful process, which will require hard work from all of us for many years. It should be the continued process of reconstruction. Reconciliation cannot be brought about by a third party. It should take place between the two parties involved. The TRC cannot bring about reconciliation on its own. At most, it could only facilitate the process by which reconciliation can take place.] Pres Mandela and comrades, as young Afrikaners we cannot change the past, but we can build the future together. Together with a growing group of other young Afrikaners I want to commit to creating a new country, where all our children can play, love and laugh together and where they will proudly proclaim: We are African. Sonke singama- Afrika. [Applause.]
Maj Gen P H GROENEWALD: Madam Speaker, Mr President, Mr Deputy President, colleagues, we in the FF have never asked that the past should be forgotten. We want to remember the past, but we would like to remember the full truth about the past. We do not want to remember a past which is interpreted from the one side only. Today one ANC speaker after the other justified their actions. because they were fighting a just war. [Interjections.] Only one single speaker on the ANC side showed some sympathy for those who had suffered and died as a result of the revolutionary struggle.
Generally speaking, the ANC does not accept responsibility for the thousands of black and white persons killed by revolutionaries in the townships and elsewhere. Between September 1984 and October 1990, 438 people were necklaced, certainly not all by the so- called Third Force. A total of 7 187 private houses
were burned down in the townships, and 1 779 schools, 1 265 shops and factories, 12 188 private delivery vehicles, 10 318 buses, and 4 450 police vehicles were either destroyed or seriously damaged. No word was said about these or the economic boycott, the trade embargo and the disinvestment for which the ANC was responsible, and which is one of the main causes of our economic problems today. This is one of the true legacies of the revolutionary struggle. [Interjections.]
The TRC also largely ignored these facts, but most important of all, they also ignored the fact that the revolutionary struggle created a perception amongst the youth that freedom could only be achieved by the use violence. They were told to use violence even at schools, and the workers were told to use violence on shop floors. The four pillar strategy was based on the creation of a people's army, street committees and people's courts. These were all ignored by the TRC. They ignored the legacy of the revolution and they made no proposals as to how this culture of violence, which I believe to be the main cause of violence and crime in South Africa today, should be addressed. In this the TRC also failed.
When one is asked to accept the past and our responsibilities, then I also call upon members of the ANC to accept the role they played and the influence of the revolutionary climate and the culture of violence which was created.
The next reason why we cannot support the findings of the TRC is that a large percentage of its findings were completely biased and would never stand up in court. Many reports of the TRC findings - some submitted to the TRC - prove the bias that I refer to. The bias was mainly aimed at demonising those who opposed the liberation struggle. The report of the TRC clearly stales, and I quote:
We have sought to carry out our work to the best of our ability without bias. I cannot, however, be asked to be neutral about apartheid.
Let me quote again, and these words were used in this Assembly today:
Those who used force to overthrow or even oppose an unjust system, occupy the moral high ground over those who used force to sustain the same system.
Does this justify the murder of thousands of black people who also suffered under apartheid? Does this justify necklacing? Does this justify murder?
The TRC humiliated Mr P W Botha, who initiated the reform process. [Interjections.] They unjustly humiliated my leader. Gen Viljoen, who played a vital role in the peaceful transition. They humiliated my people, yet members say that this report must be accepted. We cannot achieve reconciliation by demonising one party and justifying similar actions by the other party. We in the FF can never ask our people to accept this report.
0ns sit nou met die gebakte pere, en die vraag is.wat doen ons nou? [We have been left holding the baby, and the question is, what do we know.]
There can be no reconciliation if all people in South Africa are not involved in the process as equals. That is why I also call on the Deputy President, who will have to carry the burden of reconciliation after the elections, to meet with the leaders of all political parties and to plan reconciliation before the national summit for ; reconciliation is planned.
Ms B MBETE-KGOSITSILE: Madam Speaker. I dedicate my speech to the memory of millions of women who died in order for us to be here, and , many others still alive today. I can only mention a few: Kate Molale. Florence Mophosho, Male Mfusi, Dulcie September. Ruth First, Jeanette and Katryn Schoon. Nornkhosi Mini and Lindi Phahle. I also dedicate this speech to the millions of women who remained and led the liberation struggle in different ways inside the country, such as Helen Joseph. Lilian Ngoyi. Albertina Sisulu, Frances Baard, Ma Zihlangu, Florence Mkhize, Dorothy Nyembe and Winnie Mandela. We acknowledge their pain and that of many others we are unable to mention. We celebrate their love and their bravery.
Today is not about point scoring: this debate has far too serious an historical place and purpose to reduce it to that. It would have been good if we could have used this occasion to straighten the record, to sing deserved praises to the millions of our people or if we could at least have thoroughly vented our frustrations with either history or the TRC process itself. But this is not the time or the occasion.
For me the value of this exercise is in the fact that it gives us an opportunity to use the TRC and its processes as a mirror in which we must not only read our history, but also see ourselves from different angles, scrutinise our imperfections as a society and find cures as we proceed with the healing process. We must know what happened. analyse and come to terms with what it says about us as a society and build our democracy in spite of the past.
When we write our history it shall be recorded in these bold letters: Igama Lamakhosikazi Malibongwe! [Praise the name of women!]
HON MEMBERS: Malibongwe! [Praise it!]
Ms B MBETE-KGOSITSILE: That will be when we realise that some of that history overspilled beyond our borders when our women, as part of the external mission of the ANC, excelled themselves in different spheres.
They mobilised the international community generally, but more specifically the international women's movement. We were part of the Women's International Democratic Federation, which played an important role towards, and in, international campaigns such as the UN Decade for Women, which helped the world in its progress towards the emancipation of the woman of the world. Key among those who led us were women such as the hon Gertrude Shope, Her Excellency Ruth Mompati, the hon Mittah Seperepere and Ray Simons.
These women led the whole ANC as it battled with the conservatism of our society. They ensured that proper perspectives, positions and policies were found for the many difficulties that confronted us, especially those relating to our women both inside and in exile. I must add the names of the hon Adelaide Tambo, Ma Msimang and Ma Motshabi, who mothered, guided, comforted and led us through those very difficult years of statelessness. In those days we struggled to get logistics for survival, mobilised the world to understand our struggle and serviced and maintained contact with our people inside
Under their guidance we grew and got skilled in raising our own children, teaching them our anthem, our history and about home, South Africa. These women visited us wherever we were all over the globe, including in the camps, giving us inspiration and perspectives. Through the work of the Women's Section, the Charlotte Maxeke Child Care Centre was started in Morogoro after 1976 under the supervision of Mercy Matambo, a great woman of 82 who now lives in Soweto.
It was this generation who founded the Pan-African Women's Organisation together with the PAC, Swapo and other women from the continent. I was told by the late treasurer of the ANC, the honourable Thomas Nkobi, that sometimes whole external mission communities survived for stretches of time on resources raised by the women's section.
When this history is written, it must unearth the depth of the pain that both black and white women have borne and continue to bear because of our past. We must recognise the way in which their place and role in society have complicated and intensified that pain.
I am reminded of a meeting of South African women in Harare in April 1989, when a delegation of 80 women, including Afrikaner and other white women, came from inside South Africa to meet ANC women. When confronted with images of the SADF reign of terror in the frontline states, some of those women were shattered as they thought about the pride with which they used to iron their sons' and husbands' SADF uniforms. Some said it was lies; others accepted the truth and came to terms with the challenge posed by having to rationalise their love of the monsters they lived with, killers of the kids and husbands of some of the women they met at that meeting. Madam Speaker, you will remember how every one of us was touched by that encounter.
To quote a translation of the words of Judith Todd, the daughter of a former Rhodesian Prime Minister, who was at that meeting:'
'n Gemeenskap van apartheid druk jou in 'n vorm in - al voel jy nie wit nie, word jy gedwing om so te voel. Dit is pynlik om uit pas met jou tydgenote te wees.
Another Zimbabwean leader of the Conservative Alliance said:
Ou mans sit om tafels en maak oorloe en die vroue bly by die huis met die pyn.
This is true, and this is why history must acknowledge the indispensable support of the mothers who bore their pain quietly as they tossed and turned for countless nights wondering where their children were. Over the decades many women were forced to make impossible choices between their loved ones and their country. I talk of women like Deborah Matshoba who lost her husband because his man's pride was offended and he grew impatient with her after her detention and banning order.
Our history shows how women's reproductive role and sex were used to inflict untold pain on them, individually and collectively. Their breasts. genitalia, buttocks, menstrual cycles and pregnancies were often tools in the hands of the apartheid torture machinery. Some were sent out as agents of the state, to lure and injure ANC cadres using their sexuality.
We sit today with the hon Thandi Modise, who was forced to deliver her baby behind apartheid bars. Albertina Sisulu, while in detention, was told that her child was in intensive care with pneumonia, as a way of pressuring her to give a statement. Her response was: "Let the child die if the nation is saved." [Applause.]
As a country we must acknowledge that our women have been victims, both in the hands of the oppressors and within the liberation camp. The ANC President, Comrade Thabo Mbeki. I am proud to say. in his presentation of the ANC's submission to the TRC, did say that men in the camps had committed gender-specific offences against their women comrades.
Thenjiwe Mthintso echoes this. She is quoted by the TRC report, testifying on how a comrade threatened to rape her. as saying "It is gone to be very easy to rape you. There is no way you will stand in front of all these people and say I raped you." Here the position of a woman leader was being questioned, challenged and used to inflict humiliation and thereby say to her: "You think you are a leader. In fact your choice is not a choice. This is still a man's world." I believe we need to reflect on these things and address them as we seek ways of healing our wounds.
The experiences of women in their role in the MK and underground structures must still be told. We sit in this House with the likes of the hon Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula who was part of an MK convoy on 3 March 1988 which was ferrying logistic supplies from Luanda to the north of Angola to a camp in Kibasha in preparation for International Women's Day when they were ambushed by Unita. Of the five women in that ambush, a young woman called Pat fell. That day the hon Makho Njobe also lost a son. Later that same year, when Mapisa- Nqakula was accompanying the hon Gertrude Shope to the north again, a young man who was part of the reconnaissance team of the convoy was killed by a land mine.
The people behind those ambushes, some of whom have admitted this, are sitting in this House.[Interjections.] Sometimes we hear them shouting about human rights violations, and I wonder who has violated whose human rights. Sometimes it sounds as if, as people say, we should have offered enemy agents ice-cream-and-pudding treatment while our people were being massacred inside and outside the country. While regretting any excesses, we make no apologies for having relentlessly waged that struggle.
In the Cassinga raid against Swapo camps on 4 May 1978, 167 women and 298 teenagers and children were killed. This was done regardless of the SADF knowing that there were women and children, and was therefore in violation of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.
When looking at the TRC process, we must point out that the stories of most women have hardly been told. The process only scratched the surface of the collective experience of women. Special efforts need to be made to deal with this in order for any meaningful healing to be realised. This is only a beginning. Our Constitution points the way when, in the founding provisions, it entrenches nonsexism as one of the fundamental principles on which the future must be built. [Applause.]
Mr W J SEREMANE: Madam Speaker, your Excellency the President, hon Deputy President. senior citizens of our country in this esteemed Chamber and in the gallery, our parents, before we continue I would like to honour all those who gave or lost their lives in our sad history, right across the spectrum. Life is precious, no matter whose life it is, and it is given but once.
The TRC report is to a great extent very commendable and welcome, despite the fact that some knights in golden armour tried to suppress its release. There are, however, people who really should have known better, and areas that regrettably stick out like sore thumbs, and these require our courageous and hard scrutiny,
We note here the inadequacies and shortcomings of the effort, for ours is a prismatic country and all facets of this prism have to be looked at, otherwise we will not enjoy wholesome and complete healing. The gaping, unsalved and unhealed wounds festering with excruciating hurt - hopefully not hate - and the deep feeling of unfulfilment felt by many families regarding the information about the remains of those who were murdered in the ANC camps, the wounds and grief of families of these unknown graves, whether shallow or deep - only the ANC will ever know - will not be healed easily.
Full and honest disclosure, access to records of trials or court martials and details of executions could have helped a great deal towards forgiveness, peace and reconciliation, which is never cheap. The TRC, in our view, did not succeed in extracting complete disclosure from the ANC, especially over the methods they used to exterminate their own. Can the ANC not be more honest than the De Kocks and the Benzienes? Do ANC members who sanctioned and perpetrated these atrocities deserve amnesty when they cannot take the TRC, never mind the country they govern, into their confidence? It seems the ANC merely tried to use the TRC to pull the wool over the eyes of justice-loving citizens who believe in the sanctity of life. [Interjections.] Thula [be quiet], comrade! Tsotsi [thug] comrade! [Laughter.]
The myopic, selective approach to justice by the ANC will never put the state through the thorax and chest of the monster that they themselves have created in those camps. Somewhere along the line it may be sooner rather than later when the monster will rise to suck more human blood. [Interjections.]
Mr S D MONTSITSI: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: is it parliamentary for the hon member to refer to members on this side as thugs or tsotsis?
The SPEAKER: Order! I think words to that effect have been used before, and in this context I will allow it. Please proceed.
Mr W J SEREMANE: Madam Speaker, that is justice. Somewhere along the line it may be sooner rather than later when the monster will rise again to suck more human blood. Who knows if this very monster has not spawned more of its own sinister offspring all over the country. The question for our new rulers and masters is: Without full disclosure and accountability, not blanket amnesties, how will we know probity, decency and the human right records and commitments of those who govern us now and will do so in the future?
f my fears are wrong, and I truly hope that they are not correct, then why are those returned exiles - who tasted the security apparatus of these camps so reluctant to speak openly about their painful ' experiences? [Interjections.] I do not think that it is loyalty - it is deep-seated uneasiness that the monster might strike again. Complete and honest disclosure to the letter and detail will surely take us a long way in healing and reconciling all the parties of the conflict, all of them victims of humankind and historical tragedy. We certainly look forward to a time when all of us will learn from the mistakes of our unfortunate, painful past and the danger of the abuse of power. Never should we forget that justice is a double-edged sword. Most importantly, those who live by the sword invariably die by sword. [Interjections.]
Ms L HANI: Chairperson, Deputy President, hon members, guests . . .
. . . ha ke tsebe hore na ke itshenyetse nako ka ho ! arabela "the hon member", haholo hobane motho o ne a hopola hore ha a tia mona, Ntlong e ka reng ena, o tla hlompha setjhaba sena sa South Africa Empa. ho bonahala morero wa hae e se oo feela, empa e le ho bapala ka setjhaba, ka hona ha ke na ho senya nako ya ka. (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)
[. . . I wonder if I must waste my time by responding to the hon member, especially because one would hope that in participating in today's debate in the House, he would at least show respect for the people of South Africa. However, it appears that his intention is not that, but to fool the nation, and I will therefore not waste my time by responding to him.]
The late O R Tambo and Chris Hani would have wanted me to dedicate this speech to those unsung heroes whose experiences did not go before the TRC hearings, and whose stories were not covered in the media. These are the experiences of South Africa's finest freedom fighters,visionaries, community builders, but most of all true patriots. I would like especially to salute Siphiwe Mthimkulu. Even after lengthy periods of imprisonment, beatings, torture, being poisoned and being subjected to the notorious standing-on-a-brick treatment, his resolve and conviction to fight for a better life were only strengthened.
At the TRC hearings, his mother said, and I quote:
I would like to say to you that there is no price for the loss of our loved one. The last thing I would like to say to the perpetrators is: "Just show us the bones of my child. I would be grateful. Where did they leave the bones of my child? Where did they take him from Port Elizabeth? Who handed him over to them? What did they do to him? I hope you are writing down what I am saying, because I want it recorded."
It is selfish still to expect forgiveness from the victims. Forgiveness is something that the perpetrators need to find within themselves. They will find forgiveness after they have corrected the wrongs that they have done.
It hurts to hear how families are being informed of the amnesty decisions. Many victims feel that the TRC has failed to treat the amnesty question with the sensitivity it deserves in that no one bothers to tell them when their killers and torturers receive amnesty.
We must be sensitive to the experiences that these families and communities have suffered for generations. We must change the impression that the amnesty process is focused on the perpetrators We must be sensitive to the victims. The violence of apartheid was aimed at individuals as part of entire communities. Our new country is rebuilding itself on the foundation of a new morality, a morality that demands that we be open about the mistakes we committed in the past, mistakes which were committed by South Africans. Therefore, the airing in public of confessions may be hurtful, and at times embarrassing. However, the more we know about how low we once sank, the stronger will be our resolve not to repeat these terrible deeds.
At the TRC hearings these past years, many gruesome details emerged. They reduced the strongest of us to tears. Many victims simply appealed that at least their dignity be restored. This does not surprise us, because their suffering was not for personal gain, but for the common good. However, we must decide as a nation where to go from here. The report will act as a guide, but bringing it to life will require us to give it meaning. This is the task all of us here today are charged with.
This has closed a chapter for many families who did not know the fate of a loved one. The TRC process does not come out of a need for revenge, as its opponents have suggested. We have all experienced the horrors, pain and humiliation of apartheid in almost every aspect of our daily lives, from collecting drinking water several miles away from our homes to being rudely spoken to by an insolent young policeman who would demand one's passbook.
However, I say to my brothers and sisters that we must remember that the TRC findings are only words. It is we who are going to have to make the findings a living reality. These reports must not be removed from the reality of our daily lives. They are an expression of the real distress we face daily. To me they represent the collective sigh of our black people, the heart, soul and spirit of the of the conditions that we face
I believe that most South Africans are committed to breaking from the past, to healing the wounds of history, to building a future based on respect for human rights. This reality places a responsibility upon all of us. Human rights are the birthright of each and every citizen. It is the task of each one of us to help illuminate the way, to chart the way forward and provide South Africa with enlightenment. Our task is huge, but we need to start here. in our homes, in our streets, in our communities, and with the local civic structures.
We must guard against the dangers and pitfalls. We must embark upon the journey from the past into a bright future, [Applause.]
Mr J A RABIE: Mr Chairperson, hon President, hon Deputy President, I am gratified that, apart from two ANC members, essentially we have not denigrated one another today. However, I feel we have failed the people out there in the sense that we talk about reconciliation and nation-building, but do not pursue this. When the ANC advanced a good argument, we also applauded it, but when we made a good point, the ANC did not make a sound. [Interjections.] Now, that did not promote reconciliation.
The TRC was established to expose the truth about human rights violations of the past. What is more, it was considered to be the instrument to achieve reconciliation. The question now arises: Were these objectives reached? After a careful analysis one comes to the following conclusion: to a lesser extent yes, but to a greater extent no.
Individuals from the security forces and the previous government were torn to shreds. By the way, not one of the ANC members was part of the previous government. [Interjections.] To a great extent there was a lack of balance and I shall return to this point later. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order!
Mr J A RABIE: Mr F W de Klerk, the former State President, took the TRC to court because he was aggrieved about sections of the report which affected him and he wanted them removed. This was done and there will be a final decision on this in May.
The ANC also instituted legal proceedings because the organisation, according to the report, was also accused of violating human rights. According to them. and this was mentioned here by Minister Omar and many others, they held the moral high ground, because they waged a justified battle against apartheid. They lost the case, but South Africa was indignant about this and this proved that the ANC can only mete out punishment, and cannot take it. [Interjections.]
P W Botha refused to give evidence before the TRC and a subpoena was served on him. He still refused to give evidence and was taken to court and found guilty. The IFP also refused to give evidence. The TRC threatened to take the IFP to court and Archbishop Tutu said he would resign as the chairperson of the TRC if Minister Buthulezi were to refuse to give evidence. [Interjections.] The subpoena was never served and Archbishop Tutu did not resign. All these matters cast a dark shadow over the credibility and impartiality of the TRC.
Another strange aspect concerns the ANC and the IFP. They serve together in the Government of National Unity. Yet they are killing one another in KwaZulu-Natal. [Interjections.] Peace simply cannot be achieved and reconciliation remains out of reach. The people thought that it would be easy for those persons who govern the country together to achieve this, but no! Instead it seems as if there are elements on both sides that are fanning the flames of intolerance and irreconcilability. [Interjections.]
Now something sinister is rearing its ugly head in crimes of violence. The ANC have extended party control to all the levers of power. Now a member of Pagad has admitted in court that he smuggled explosives to Cape Town for the NIA, in other words the Government. [Interjections.] This was said in court! It was stated in evidence that shortly after the transportation of such a consignment of explosives, bomb blasts rocked Cape Town. My question is, who is going to accept responsibility for these crimes against the people of the Western Cape. Who is going to get the blame for thwarting reconciliation and nation-building? Quo vadis? It is going to be the NP sitting here again and the old NP under which these crimes were committed, is no longer sitting here. I cannot even count them on the fingers of one hand. [Interjections.] I was not one of the people who committed the crimes. [Interjections.] You are lying! [Interjections.]]
The CHAIRPHRSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mr P AC HENDRICKSE: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order : Is the speaker allowed to say that another member is lying?
(Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.) [Mr J A RABIE: I had already withdrawn it, before you woke up! [Interjections.]
After the smooth transition to a new order the world was in ecstasy and they considered it a miracle. Many international leaders proclaimed this from this podium. The TRC is silent on this and wants to ignore the contribution of the previous government under F W de Klerk to this magnificent transition.
A while ago the NP was referred to as if this NP was the government under which these crimes were committed. [Interjections.] I said a while ago that I can count those old members of government on the fingers of one hand, but not one of them was involved in the security setup of the country. [Interjections.] Those of us who are not white and are members of the New NP are considered by that side of the House to be lepers and lackeys. Yet former homeland cabinet ministers who were in control of the police and armies are sitting cosily in the ANC ranks. This hate speech does not contribute one iota to reconciliation. Yesterday when Ike Bikitsha participated in the interpellation on corruption, a reference was made to a monkey wrench, as if the man cannot think for himself. [Interjections.] The New NP is always being accused of being a white party. Just look at the New NP and look at the other parties in the House. [Interjections.]]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! May I appeal to hon members. I appreciate the fact that Mr Rabie is energising the House, but could we calm down a little bit. Proceed, Sir.
(Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr J A RABIE: They like doing that when I am speaking, Mr Chairperson.
When we became part of the tricameral Parliament in 1984, the UDF, an internal wing of the ANC, outlawed us. Houses were set alight and pelted with stones. Vicious necklacings took place. [Interjections.] The hon member can ask his brother,Valli Moosa, about that. Vicious necklacings took place to an increasing extent and intimidation was the order of the day. Thanks to Providence we did not give up. We had a mission to discredit apartheid from within and to see to it that the scales fell from the eyes of the whites and they realised how wrong and inhuman their policy directions were. [Interjections.]
In our modest way we helped to convert separateness into togetherness. Here in this very Chamber we discussed matters of state with one another. Here we contributed to the following Acts sinking into oblivion by their being removed from the Statute Book: The Prohibition of Foreign ; Financing of Political Parties Act, the Population Registration Act - that is to say the race classification Act - the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, the Group Areas Act, the legislation which made provision for separate municipalities and separate education, and the legislation which made provision for job reservation, which the ANC now wants to bring back. I could go on in this vein
Through this equal participation and our cross-pollination, the old NP came to realise that separateness could not be continued with and that we did not want to drive them into the sea. The membership of the New NP was thrown open and after careful consideration and without regrets we joined them, and that is how we removed the persons in the tricameral Parliament who did not want to reconcile from the mainstream of the political arena. [Interjections.] Political discussions were then easier, and more good-natured negotiation for an inclusive new dispensation dominated the agenda to an increasing extent. It is my considered opinion that we would really achieve reconciliation if all of us here and outside were to conduct our politics without reference to colour and immediately refrained from further hate speech. [Interjections.]
Dr E A SCHOEMAN: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order: I heard someone, and I can mention his name, it was the hon member Mr Bloem, refer to Mr Rabie as a leper. I want to ask you whether that is parliamentary.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! s Mr Bloem. will you please withdraw that remark.
D Mr D V BLOEM: Mr Chairperson, I did not say he was a leper. I said he was a coloured monkey wrench.[Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Mr Bloem, will you please withdraw the remark.
Mr D V BLOEM: I withdraw it for the sake of reconciliation. [Applause.]]
Miss I W DIREKO: Mr Chairperson, hon President and Deputy President and hon members. right from the onset I wish to express my disappointment with the responses we have heard from leaders of political parties that were represented in this House during the apartheid years. This debate gave them an opportunity to acknowledge their own culpability for the crimes against humanity that are recorded in the TRC report, because the basis of the reconciliation that we are seeking as a nation is the honest recognition of the past injustices that were perpetrated. As the present political leaders of the white community they are doing that community a great disservice by their attitude to this debate. 'n Mens sou van geni Constand Viljoen verwag het om namens die weermag om vergifais te vra vir die kinders wie se lewens vernietig is deur sy weermag en vir die ouers wat onmeetlike pyn en lyding moes deurmaak as gevolg van sy weermag. Die agb lid laat my geen ander keuse nie as om tot die gevoigtrekking te kom dat die baas baas was. [Tussenwerpsels.] Die baas wil baas bly, ongeag veranderde toestande. [T\issenwerpsels.] [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[One would have expected Gen Constand Viljoen to ask forgiveness on behalf of the defence force for the children whose lives have been destroyed by his defence force and for the parents who have been subjected to immeasurable pain and suffering as a result of his defence force. The hon member leaves me no choice but to come to the conclusion that the chief was chief in charge. [Interjections.] The chief wants to remain the chief in charge, regardless of changed circumstances. [Interjections.] [Applause.]]
I commend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for focusing on the individual victims of apartheid and the apartheid state, because it is only through our individual experiences that we can really understand the pathological nature of the apartheid war.
One incident which remains vividly in my mind, is the funeral of a student. Makotoko, who was killed by the SADF. At the graveside were thousands of students and members of the community. An order was given by the SADF for the crowd to disperse within five minutes. Of course they knew that it would be humanly impossible to disperse so many people in just five minutes. Pandemonium broke out as the police and the SADF started attacking the crowd. A 13- year-old girl fell victim to this attack. She fell over a grave and was kicked and beaten by able-bodied men.
Ek bedoel frisgeboude manne. [Tussenwerpsels.] Sy was 13 jaar oud. [I mean well built men. [Interjections.] She was 13 years old.]
All I could do at that point was to throw myself on her to shield her. While I was lying face down, all I could see was a pair of size 11 army boots. [Laughter.] I say size 11, because they looked that big. [Laughter.] This pair of boots, aimed at the head of a young girl, summed up for me the way the black people and our children specifically, experienced the apartheid state.
The TRC report is littered with thousands of incidents which reveal the pathological and racist nature of the apartheid war. It was a war that was carried out against black people throughout Southern Africa. I think, for example, of the brave unnamed Swapo commissar who ran for two days from 50 men in five Casspirs. In the SADF submission, a lance corporal refers to tracking his spoor as if he was a wild animal. The SADF finally caught up with him where he was hiding in a kraal. They drove over that kraal with a Casspir and then fired into the rubble. They then dragged him out, only barely alive, and immediately started to interrogate him. At that point, one of the SADF officers flew into a rage and leapt at the wounded soldier and shot him between the eyes. [Interjections.]
This unknown Swapo soldier was not a Russian or a Cuban. Of course, it was alleged that this action was keeping away the onslaught of the communists and Cubans, but this soldier was an ordinary black Southern African. His treatment by the SA Defence Force can only be understood in the context of a racist apartheid ideology in which black people were less human than white people Any level of violence was justified in order to keep the black people where the apartheid state had put them
I do not know how we, as a people, can ever come to terms with this pathological violence which was unleashed on those black and white people who stood up against the crime that was apartheid. It is very hard to accept that the perpetrators of this violence will walk free. Only if we understand that these individuals were caught up in a mass pathology, and that they were acting as agents of the apartheid state, can we accept that they will go free. However, those that were directing this apartheid war must take full responsibility for the criminal acts that were carried out by their agents in their name.
It is disappointing that Mr De Klerk and the NP I suppose the New NP will say they were not a party to this - have never accepted responsibility for these atrocities. They want us to believe that it is now a new NP, but how can it be a new NP when they have never come clean about their past? [Applause.]
I want to say that one tires of all the lies and attempts to justify what was done to our people. I have enough experience of this, and it is time that the perpetrators of violence come clean.
I will tell members of an incident at my school after morning prayers, when the police charged at the children without any provocation and dragged eight boys away. For days and weeks, I attempted to establish their whereabouts, but could get no answers. Finally, I was told that I was wasting my time because these boys were charged with stoning police Casspirs. At the time of their arrest, these boys did not even have a few grains of sand in their hands, let alone stones, and there were no Casspirs in sight. Not only this, but they were inside the school yard and the gates were locked, it was the police who had jumped over the fence. Yet the state was prepared to distort the truth in order to justify their detention. There is nothing new about the New NP's attempt to distort the past in order to make their actions look less bad than they really were.
Today I want to remember the mothers who suffered such anguish when their children disappeared into detention and fled into exile. All they were left with was the maddening anxiety of not knowing whether they would ever set eyes on their children again. As mothers, we have had to watch the effects of apartheid on a whole generation of young people who never experienced s normal childhood.
The TRC has been an exercise which, though painful, has unravelled decades of mysteries and puzzles that have haunted our nation. By coming before the TRC, victims have had their experiences recognised by the nation, and they have come to accept the reality that they have lost their loved ones for ever.
It has given impetus to the desire for sane thinking South Africans to make a fresh start. I want to dedicate this speech to Cambridge Maloisane, who was assassinated on 9 December 1982 in Lesotho. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr C H PIENAAR: Mr Chairman, the idea of establishing the TRC may have been a noble one at the time, or, alternatively, it may have been a very cynical way of getting at political opponents. History will be the judge of that.
Today we have to deal with the results of the commission which are immediately apparent. Those results are not good. If we take stock of the results, we come to the conclusion that the commission, unfortunately, became a law unto itself.
When the accused in the so-called Malan trial were acquitted, the reaction of the TRC was that they should have been brought before the TRC in the first place. What does this imply? Does this imply that the TRC would have done the job properly and found the accused guilty?
An HON MEMBER: Yes.
Mr C H PIENAAR: Correct, says somebody in the ANC benches. Exactly, there we have it. Does the TRC place itself above the courts? This would be bizarre, and reminds one of the cynicism which, according to legend characterised justice in the old Wild West in the days when they charged people, and the judge said: "We will give you a fair trail and then hang you.
The question is: How many of these "fair trails" were conducted by the TRC? The IFP has said all along that this process will do more harm than good. The IFP and its leader today stand vindicated in that viewpoint. Truth and reconciliation, the aims of the commission, have not been achieved nor served by this unfortunate process. The TRC, unfortunately, has failed dismally in bringing about reconciliation.
Single-handedly, the leader of the IFP, Minister Buthelezi, has done more for reconciliation than the entire commission at its massive cost. [Interjections.] The man who has been vilified by this very commission, and made out to be some scheming archvillain, has done more for reconciliation than the commission.
Let us examine the results of the efforts by the TRC against those by the leader of the IFP. On the one hand, the TRC has polarised not only black- white relations, but also black-black relations. The ANC has even criticised the TRC report for trying to damage IFP-ANC relations in KwaZulu-Natal.
After all the hard work in KwaZulu-Natal, especially by the leader of the IFP, to bring about peace, the TRC has, in its misguided way, taken upon itself the task of undoing that very hard work that was put in by the leader of the IFP. On the other hand, the leader of the IFP, Prince Buthelezi, stated on 23 February in an interview published in the Cape Argus:
It is strange that if there is talk of unity between the white parties, no one seems to mind that. But the real point is that in the war between the IFP and ANC far more black people were killed than were killed in the struggle between black and white. There is thus a great moral obligation on us to bring that conflict to an end. That has to have priority
As an Afrikaner and a descendant of those involved, I can attest that the hon Prince Buthelezi has done more for reconciliation with my people than anybody else by, before the TRC. apologising for the murder of Retief and his people by Dingaan. [Interjections.] Furthermore, before the ANC, the hon Prince Buthelezi apologised for any IFP atrocities committed against the ANC. [Time expired.]
Ms D P JANA: Chairperson, comrades and colleagues, with all the humility I can evoke. I dedicate today's debate to one of South Africa's most glorious youths, Solomon Mahlangu. . [Applause.] Twenty years ago, Solomon Mahlangu marched unflinchingly to the gallows, his head held high, singing freedom songs, eulogising our leaders, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. He had no regrets. He was innocent of the crime he was convicted of. That is the truth.
I also dedicate this debate to each and every South African who has been a victim of apartheid and whose names do not feature in any record and whose stories of deprivation, pain and suffering remain yet untold.
The TRC was born of a political compromise, with a limited mandate to investigate only the gross violations of human rights as defined in the Act. Therefore the investigations did not include apartheid crimes and those atrocities that were justified through institutionalised repression. For black people, this was more than a compromise. It was a sacrifice.
Now, allow me to jolt the self-induced amnesia of the perpetrators of apartheid. Whilst 21 400 persons filed petitions for gross human right violations with the TRC, the experience of apartheid was a daily grim reality for every black South African. To be a victim of apartheid, one did not have to be an activist. One merely had to be black.
The General Assembly of the UN on numerous occasions condemned apartheid as a crime against humanity. Finally, in 1984 the UN Security Council declared apartheid a crime against humanity. The truth of apartheid is that crime became law. This law determined the classification of persons into one of the four racial categories according to the colour of one’s skin, the texture of one’s hair and the shape of one’s lips. [Interjections.]
The law prohibited relationships and marriages across the colour line, causing untold suffering and humiliation. This law caused 18 million black South Africans to be jailed and treated as criminals over the years for failing to carry passes. This law caused 3,5 million men, women and children to be forcibly removed and displaced between 1960 and 1982. Communities were shattered, families dispossessed and livelihoods destroyed. This law justified the theft of 87% of our land from our people to be distributed amongst a small white minority.
This law stripped millions of South Africans of their citizenship. This law prescribed an inferior education for black people, deliberately stunting their potential. This law provided social services and amenities exclusively for a white minority and increased poverty for the black majority. This law reduced the status of black workers to that of migrant labourers in their own country, causing families to be separated, abandoned and even to disintegrate.
Then there were those laws that crushed any opposition to apartheid, so much so that a young man was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment for merely inscribing "Viva Mandela" on his coffee mug. There were laws also that violated every human and civil right, causing widespread detentions, bannings, house arrests, banishment, torture and death. I ask the opposition: Were those crimes not gross violations of human rights? History will record that they were!
The TRC report lists some 115 laws that gave life to apartheid, which persuaded the international community, as early as 1973, that apartheid was a crime against humanity. Apartheid was not a mistake, as members have heard over and over today. It was a deliberate and calculated obscenity. Even today there are members in this House who were part of that apartheid system. I say to them: Now is the time. Acknowledge that apartheid was evil! Accept your responsibility and show your remorse to the nation. That is the only way forward.
The ANC has offered reconciliation. The parties of apartheid have not been able even to accept the truth That is their external shame. The TRC's finding is only a glimpse of an inferno, but a glimpse that was necessary to reflect the horrors of apartheid, so that such horrors will never, but never, be repeated in history. [Applause.]
The PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN PRO- g VINCE (Mr N A Ramathlodi): Chairperson, our President and Deputy President, I was one of those people who were not allowed to bury Solomon Mahlangu in those years. I was also not allowed to erect a tombstone for him because of the Casspirs and the teargas. Little did I know that a few years later, in 1982, I would be in Maseru burying 42 of my comrades, who had been led by people like Gini Gugushe. That morning before the funeral we had to go from house to house, not camp to camp,picking up their scattered brains and their broken limbs. Two of my comrades, I remember very well, had been incinerated. All we could see was the tract of the spinal cord and the brain.
I was again in Maseru, Lesotho, in 1985 when Morris Seabelo and others were butchered in the middle of the night. The only person whose life was spared was the little girl Phoenix.I am sure she lives somewhere in KwaZulu-Natal today, without a father or a mother. We know now that Katryn s Schoon was not as fortunate as Phoenix. What wrong had these children done to the adults who ruled this country those many years?
Let me turn to ourselves. What sets the ANC apart from the rest in this country, and maybe universally, is that we have always believed in principles. The Leader of the Opposition referred to 1955 and to a document called the Freedom Charter which he said he did not know very well. In the Freedom Charter we claimed the right to liberation for ourselves and for our oppressors. Even while being the underdogs at the receiving end of the iron heel, our people said: "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white." [Applause.]We did not say that in order to get white votes in this country, because there was no chance that we would ever be allowed to vote. That was 43 years ago. We said that because we believed it. Period. [Applause.]
When President Mandela, facing the possibility of the gallows, spoke on behalf of the leadership of the ANC he represented the ideals for which so many had stood before. He said that he would be prepared to fight against white domination as he would be prepared to fight against black domination. [Applause.] At that time he said he would be prepared to die for those ideals if needs be. Again, there were no elections in 1989-, we simply believed in these ideals.
What also sets us apart from the other forces in this country is the fact that because our struggle was motivated by humane ideals, we prosecuted those involved in it in a very humane way. When we were burying our 42 comrades in Maseru, our president Oliver Tambo was there. He referred to a question that day which Comrade Mandela had referred to many years before the formation of uMkhonto weSizwe. He said that some would ask whether the time had not come for an eye for an eye. He did not go beyond that. That was in 1982 while we were burying 42 of our civilians and, of course, some soldiers.
The war in this country was imposed on us. We never started the war. It has always been imposed. [Interjections.] In that war, certain steps were taken by the regime, such as the poisoning of a whole camp in Angola, the shooting of an entire command staff and the taking over of entire camps using military means by the enemy agents. [Interjections.] Under those conditions, we responded to the situation and in our response there were excesses which we admit as the ANC.
However, what sets us apart is that in the eighties we set up the Stewart Commission, away from the televisions of this country, away from anybody. We were doing it for ourselves. [Applause.] When that commission finished its work and made its recommendations, we acted. We reorganised our security echelons. That is our history. Others are still to do it, just even to acknowledge that they were in the wrong.
We have fought for this freedom and the ANC has the same right as everybody else to this freedom. We have a right, like everybody else, not only to be heard but to be seen to be heard. If we ask for permission to be allowed to make representations to the TRC, we believe we must be allowed that opportunity.
Secondly, we have fought for a Constitution in this country. We believe that that Constitution protects even the rights of the ruling party. If the ruling party goes to court, thereby taking advantage of the provisions of the Constitution, we cannot be termed tyrants. [Interjections.] [Applause.] We have not used illegal means to dissolve the TRC. We did not. But they would have done if it was during their days. [Applause.]
I was listening to the Leader of the Opposition and I laughed when he said that those who were found guilty of gross violations or crimes should be removed from the lists. Apartheid was the essence of the South African state. It was not an aberration. If we follow that logic, it means that none of the MPs of the New NP would be in any list. [Applause.]
The next point I wish to make is that we cannot afford selective amnesia. When we listen to the debates in this country, whenever we try to change the institutions of power, people cry foul. The judiciary is one such instance. If we appoint ambassadors and Ministers, it is "broederskap". Yet these are the people who have been fighting for this country. When we appoint them we are guilty of nepotism. Which means that the contracts or jobs must go to those who have always had the jobs, and not to our people. [Time expired.] , [Applause.]
Mr J W MAREE: Mr Chairman, I had prepared a speech which I do not now intend to deliver. I would rather address another issue that I think is of more importance than what I originally wanted to say. [Interjections.]
I want to start by stating the obvious, and that is that I have got the wrong credentials. I am middle- aged, white, Afrikaans and a man. [Interjections.] I state these facts before I address the House so that the Deputy President can understand where I come from and what my perspective is. [Interjections.]
I want to say to the Deputy President that his speech really did upset me and I want to discuss and debate that with him. [Interjections.] If we need reconciliation in this country, what is absolutely essential is that extreme opposites be brought together, because that would be the best type of reconciliation that we could possibly get.
If one looks at the whole spectrum, the hon the Deputy President and I are perhaps the absolute ultimate ends of the two groups that must be reconciled. [Interjections.]
The hon the Deputy President started out by saying that race is important.
Much is written in this country about what will happen when President Mandela goes [Interjections.) It is a burning question that is worrisome and in the hearts of many people like me. [Interjections.] Hon members must therefore understand . . .
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon members, could we keep order please.
Mr J W MAREE: People ask what will happen when Mandela goes, because we knew what we he had in Mr Mandela. We felt that he was reconciling the nation and bringing peace to this country. We honour him for that and I think it is something that only he could have done in this period.
But if we ask each other what will happen when he goes, the flipside of that question is, what will happen when the hon Mr Mbeki becomes the next President. [Interjections.] He will become the next president and that is why we judge him.
But if we ask each other what will happen when he goes, the flipside of that question is, what will happen when the hon Mr Mbeki becomes the next President. [Interjections.] He will become the next president and that is why we judge him. Wherever I go people ask me, "What is he going to do? He is a dark horse, we cannot judge him, we cannot read him. He gives conflicting signals." Mr Mbeki must therefore be sensitive about what he says. People like me put his words under a magnifying glass. [Interjections.] I do not say that all people do that.
Today the Deputy President made a speech that shocked me. [Interjections.] It gave me shivers down my spine and I thought for a terrible moment that I saw in this . . –
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Order! Please, let us listen to the hon member. There will be time for people to respond. Hon member, please proceed.
Mr J W MAREE: For a terrible moment I thought that I saw the ghost of Mugabe in this Chamber. [Interjections.] The position is that we do not want…
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order: I find that very offensive and I ask the hon member to withdraw that remark. [Applause.]
Mr J W MAREE: Mr Chairperson, I say that in the sense that it reminds me of Mr Mugabe.[Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order. Did the hon member take a breathalyser test [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Manuel, I think that this Joint Sitting must be aware of the fact that the whole country is watching its proceedings, and that the manner in which we proceed must, therefore, be appropriate.
Hon Manuel, I appeal to you please to withdraw the comment you made, because you are suggesting something with regard to the personality of the individual involved.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: I withdraw it, Mr Chairperson. [Laughter.]
Mr B H VILAKAZI: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order: I just want to remind you that the hon the Minister of Home Affairs took a point of order. Could you rule on that please?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Maree, would you please withdraw your remarks.
Mr J W MAREE: Which one?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: The one that led to the objection of the Minister of Home Affairs.
Mr J W MAREE: Mr Chairperson, if it is offensive to refer to Mr Mugabe, I withdraw that [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I cannot even hear what the hon member is saying. I cannot hear whether he is withdrawing the remark or not, because the whole House is speaking on his behalf.
Mr D H M GIBSON: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order: May I suggest to you that it is only proper for the hon member to be instructed to withdraw that statement if it is unparliamentary. If you are ruling that it is unparliamentary for him to say that he sees the ghost of Mugabe around, it is one thing, but just because the hon the Minister of Home Affairs finds the comment offensive does not mean that it is necessarily unparliamentary. If you rule that it is unparliamentary, then the hon member must be instructed to withdraw it, otherwise he should be instructed to proceed.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I have instructed Mr Maree to withdraw the statement and he has done so. The hon member may proceed.
Mr J W MAREE: Mr Chairperson, the reason why I felt, and still feel, perturbed is that I cannot understand why the hon the Deputy Minister quoted what Jan van Riebeeck said about the Khoi people or about the blacks. I cannot understand how what white people said about black people 300 years ago is of any relevance today. It is used only to create tension. In my opinion, it has the possibility of whipping up emotions in the black community against whites because of remarks or attitudes that prevailed 300 years ago. The Deputy Minister must surely know that much later, the Afrikaners and the British belittled each other. [Interjections.]
Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Go back to your own prepared speech. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mrs Lubidla, I appeal to you please to allow the hon member to proceed.
Mr J W MAREE: A few years ago the French and the British did the same. Some ethnic groups in Africa and the world despise each other. Why, when we talk of reconciliation, should we pitch white against black and one against another in this very important debate, with everybody watching? I think about my future and about my children's future, and I wonder about it when the next President of this country makes such remarks, because I do not understand it. [Interjections.]
Perhaps they can be explained, but I cannot understand them and that worries me. [Interjections.] I will explain that to members. If it is true . . .
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I hope that members appreciate the fact that the right to interject is not intended to make it impossible for the member on the podium to speak. It can be very pleasant to interject, but it has to be done very delicately, not in such a way as to make it impossible for anybody following the proceedings to understand what is going on.
I appeal to the Joint Sitting to deal with the matter in an appropriate manner. Proceed, hon member. I will add to Mr Maree's speaking time, because a certain amount of his speaking time has been wasted.
HON MEMBERS: No! No!
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I will. Proceed, hon Maree.
Mr J W MAREE: It is true that the election is on our doorstep, and if the hon the Deputy President intended to deliver a speech for electioneering purposes, that is one thing. I would understand it in that context.
But the ANC does not need black votes. What we need in this country are parties that are more representative of all the different groups. That is why I am very comfortable with the NP, because . . [Interjections) . . . if one looks at that party one will see that we have a better mix than any other party does. [Interjections.] Members should look at that party. More black people than white people vote for us.
An HON MEMBER: You have blacks that are not proud to be black.
Mr J W MAREE: Members should listen to the types of speeches that are being made by members of that party. In our speeches we do not pit black and white against each other. [Interjections.]
The Deputy President and Mr Peter Mokaba did so, and virtually half of the ANC speakers were prepared to mention white and black in conflicting terms. [Interjections.] We do not need that
I want to honour the hon the President for his speech. Not once did he play the race card, and that is why he has such stature, why we have confidence in him and why South Africa can go forward
However, I want to say that we are worried to hear the type of speech we have heard here, and I must use this opportunity to impress that on our future President.
Ms L B NGWANE: Mr Chairperson, may I address you on a point of order?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Could you take your seat, hon Maree, so that we can listen to this point of order.
Ms L B NGWANE: Mr Chairperson, is the hon member prepared to take a question?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mr Maree, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr J W MAREE: Yes, I am. Ms L B NGWANE: What has he got to say about the TRC report that we are debating today? We are still waiting to hear what he and his party have to say about the report.
Mr J W MAREE: The position is that reconciliation should be a very important part of the report, and that was neglected. Today it is important for all of us to take the reconciliation process forward. I am just making the statement that the Deputy Presidents speech did nothing to bring reconciliation onto our national list of priorities to bring about progress.[Interjections.]
His speech was also very strange in other respects. The Deputy President referred to how the findings against the ANC were wrong in the sense that theirs was a just cause, and that if one is just in one's cause, one cannot be wrong in what one is doing. If that is not exactly what he said, it was nevertheless said in the submission of the SA National Congress to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission...
An HON MEMBER: The African National Congress.
Mr J W MAREE in October 1998, when that the point was made.
If what the Deputy President said was to justify the abuses of the victor, because the victor dictates the debate and the victor's selective morality is elevated above human rights, then that constitutes a flaw in his speech. Such a standpoint undermines the very concept of human rights. [Interjections.] It blurs the concept of human rights and sets it back as a variable and uncertain norm. We cannot do that, because murder is murder and torture is torture, wherever it comes from.
However, I want to make the point that the perpetrating of these deeds unfortunately did not occur during those years before 1990. In Volume 3, Chapter 1, paragraph 34 of the report, it gives a graph of all the killings, and it so happens that from 1989-1994, the ANC . . .
The MINISTER FOR WELFARE AND POPU- LATION DEVELOPMENT: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order. I think we are deeply distressed, because this is a very serious debate. I have a sense this hon member is seeing double, hence he cannot read from his speech. [Laughter.] I think we must quite honestly take this very seriously, because he did not make one sensible sentence. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! That is not a point of order, hon Minister. Please proceed, Mr Maree. [Interjections.]
Mr P A MATTHEE: Mr Chairperson, on a point of order: You ruled before that that insinuation should be withdrawn. That was the same insinuation now by this hon Minister, and I ask you please to ask her to withdraw it . . . [Interjections] . . . in terms of your previous ruling.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I have ruled that that was not a point of order. Please let us proceed, Mr Maree.
Mr J W MAREE: Mr Chairman, from 1989 to 1994, the ANC killed 4 350 people in South Africa. [Interjections.] All this is listed in terms of the number of killings per year and the perpetrating organisation at national level. Here is the name of the ANC, here is the graph, and here are the figures. From 1989 to 1994. 4 350 people were killed by the ANC. [Interjections.] During the same period, Inkatha killed 950 people. That is the score: 4 350 on one side, 950 on the other side. [Interjections.] During the same period, the police were responsible for 660 deaths only. Therefore, from 1989, the perpetrator was the ANC. I refer those members to this document. They can have it, I will give it to them in a moment. [Interjections.]
The fact of the matter is that the ANC is not as innocent as they would like to say, and they are not as brave as they would like to say. They are as guilty as. or more guilty than, anybody else because they killed after we started the peace process . . . [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr J S NDEBELE (KwaZulu-Natal): Mr Chairperson, Mr President, Deputy President and the House, Mr Maree was quite depressing. He reminds me of some people who ask us to meet them halfway. We take them at their word, but when we get there, they think they are already halfway. We are the ones who are supposed to travel the whole distance. Of course, when the NP talked about co-operation, they always meant that they would operate and we had to co-operate. [Laughter.] When we now talk about reconciliation, when we conciliate, they recoil. [Laughter.]
I would like to dedicate what I am going to deliver here to a mother whose son, Andrew Zondo, was sentenced by Judge Leon. [Interjections.] [Applause.] I am told that the son of that judge ended up as the editor of a newsletter at the SA Defence Force camp in Namibia. This mother recounted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission how she had borrowed cups, saucers and spoons from the church for the vigil of her son. The SA Police raided the vigil, and all the utensils were smashed. To her honour, her greatest wish is to get money to replace those utensils which were smashed by the SA Police at the vigil for her son. That illustrates the nobility of the spirit of our people.
Chinua Achebe talked about the overthrow of a dictator in one of his books, and he said that when people woke up the following morning, everyone said: "Oh, what a terrible system: what terrible people! How could they support a person like this?" Newspapers followed suit. and this view became public opinion. [Applause.] That is what is called collective amnesia. We could have taken that route and said: "Let us forget everything", or we could have taken the other route of revenge and said: "Apartheid was a crime against the people of South Africa and against humanity", and made it a national policy to hunt down all those who made it work. [Interjections.] We have seen that also. Israel tried it and it does not work: instead it goes on and on.
The South African way, the ANC way, is that there should be reconciliation through truth. We were very conscious that we were sacrificing justice for reconciliation, but it is succeeding. Political violence now represents our past in eight provinces. However, for KwaZulu-Natal, political violence represents not only our past, but most unfortunately also our present. For it not to represent our future, a supreme effort needs to be mounted at national and provincial level to ensure that political violence does not become part also of our future in KwaZulu-Natal. [Applause.]
More than 50% of gross human rights violations happened in KwaZulu-Natal, but we are getting less than 5% of the truth. More than 60% of forced removals took place in KwaZulu-Natal, yet less than 1% of restitution has occurred there to date. We have agreed to sacrifice justice for reconciliation for the sake of building a new South Africa, but in KwaZulu-Natal we are sacrificing justice, truth and reconciliation. If De Kock was in KwaZulu- Natal, he would still be a free man today, because the system of justice which has been followed there has been that of exonerating criminals.
The idea of the ANC started in that province in 1901, just as the idea of Christianity started in Israel. Israel is not yet Christian, and KwaZulu- Natal is not yet ANC. [Laughter.] [Applause.] The same violence found in KwaZulu-Natal was also found in Gauteng, but there was firm leadership there to ensure that it was rooted out. It is this that we want to call for.
For our own security, if one is a South African citizen resident in KwaZulu-Natal, one will depend on an ANC national Minister for Safety and Security. Others will depend on an IFP national Deputy Minister for Safety and Security, or an IFP MEC for Safety and Security. They will also depend on an IFP-endorsed Provincial Commissioner of Police for their safety and security.
De Kock killed five people in Botswana, including two deaf children. He was injured himself, but he drove some 1 500 miles to Richards Bay to make sure that he could cover his tracks. Jagboegna then wrote an affidavit to say that he was injured in the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal.
When we talked about the Third Force, it was denied by this party, the NP. However, this is whatDe Klerk says in his book about a report made by Gen Steyn to him and the Cabinet on the Third Force on 18 December 1992:
We listened dumbfounded while Gen Steyn unravelled a complex web of unauthorised illegal and criminal activities within some units of the Defence Force.
He alleged that some units had been stockpiling weapons illegally in South Africa and abroad, that they had been providing arms and assistance to elements within the IFP, that they were involved in the instigation and perpetuation of violence and that they were involved in activities to discredit the ANC. In another report in 1997 a policeman in Pietermaritzburg pointed out that they started the war in KwaZulu-Natal. This war was not a war of politicians. It was a war against the ANC.
What we want to say is that the task of bringing peace in KwaZulu-Natal rests primarily with the ANC and the IFP. We cannot shirk that responsibility. I will therefore not be responding in any detail to what my brother Mr Mnewango was saying. All I want to say is that it is our task to carry that burden.'We know that there is a Third Force.
Kodwa-ke ngizalwa nguMfundisi mina. Ekhaya kwakuthiwa uma izoni zikuyenga. ungavumi. (I am the son of a priest. At home I was told that when sinners tempt you, you must never yield to the temptation.]
We are saying that the ANC and the IFP should not let this Third Force use them. They should not even believe it when it feeds them misleading so called intelligence designed to make us quarrel. It is important for us to know that. [Applause.]
At the moment the President of the ANC and the President of the IFP are leading a very delicate process to ensure that in KwaZulu-Natal there is J not just black and white reconciliation, but African-Indian reconciliation as well. There must also be African-African reconciliation, and this is very important. [Applause.] We are saying that while in the rest of the country the advent of democracy and freedom on 27 April 1994 and the inauguration of President Mandela on 10 May 1994 signalled the end of political violence, in KwaZulu-Natal this terrible scourge unfortunately continued.
For this reason, the cutoff date for applications for amnesty for political crimes in KwaZulu-Natal ·needs to be reconsidered. By that we do not mean that we are now going to have blanket amnesty - we cannot have that. We are just putting forward the suggestion that both ANC and IFP members applying for special amnesty to the special board make full disclosures, inter alia, about who their commanders were, where their weapons and arms are, what the nature of their instructions was, who gave them the details about units under their control and what the sources of their weapons are. We want this to happen, because we want the truth to come out. [Time expired] [Applause.]
Mr H G LOOTS: Madam Speaker, hon President. Deputy President, hon members. I would like to dedicate this short speech to Basil February, Charl Shisuba. Jakes Goniwe. Ghandi Hlekane and all he the other comrades who fell in Zimbabwe.[Applause
I have been instructed by the Chief Whip to speak on target selection - a somewhat dry topic, but, when I am instructed to do something, I do it. [Laughter.) The question of target selection has to do with issues which really go to the heart of the conflict addressed in the TRC report. Target selection describes the nature and the character of the parties to the conflict and the integrity of the policies and principles underpinning these organisations. One cannot massacre thousands of unarmed noncombatants all over the region and then claim, as the NP used to claim, that this was done in defence of Western civilisation.
We believe that the ANC represents the deepest hopes and aspirations of all South Africans, in terms of both its policies and its practices. In this regard the ANC, and the democratic order being established under its leadership, are the antithesis of the white racist state forged by the NP and its predecessors. For whereas the NP created a socio economic system based on racial oppression of the majority, the ANC fights for a democratic order based on equality and justice for all South Africans. irrespective of race. colour or creed. Whereas the NP represents the interests of the white minority, the ANC fights for the liberation of all. Furthermore, in the conduct of its armed struggle, the ANC and its military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe, sought to avoid civilian injury and loss of life.
I was going to tell Mr Maree that if one cannot ride two horses at the same time, one should stay out of the circus business. [Laughter.] [Applause.] I said that the ANC tried to avoid civilian injury and loss of life, and I will give an example. Scores of operational plans for the attacks on Sasol were rejected by the ANC leadership, until they were quite certain that these operations, against perfectly legitimate economic and military targets, would not result in civilian deaths. The results of this painstaking attention to the policy of target selection in regard to Sasol and numerous other operations are now history. Indeed, the ANC was the only party to the conflict in South Africa to sign and to honour its commitment to the Geneva Conventions and their protocols. Certainly, some mishaps occurred in this regard, and the ANC leadership has already expressed its profound apologies to the people of our country for violations of its policy on the selection of targets.
On the other hand, the NP and its security forces as a matter of policy targeted individuals and in numerous cases, as the TRC report reveals, unarmed civilians. How many groups of South African youngsters were murdered, because "they thought of joining the ANC"?
The world will never know. We, however , do know that the entire history of the NP rule is patterned by countless massacres, from Sharpeville to Cassinga, Matola, Soweto, Maseru, Langa and a host of other villages and towns where hundreds of civilians were mercilessly wiped out.
My five minutes are over. but I would like to conclude by saying one word about the Third Force. Just as the ANC is a product of our peoples struggle for equality and justice, so also is the Third Force a product of the white' minority's battle to reverse our democratic order and reinstate racist domination. [Applause.] And no number of denials . . . [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr T S YENGENI: Madam Speaker, I dedicate he this speech to and pay tribute to all the commanders commissars and cadres of our glorious peoples army, MK. the living and the dead. For special mention. I want to pay tribute to the first commander-in-chief of MK, Comrade Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. [Applause.] For special mention also, I want to pay tribute to three sons of Comrade Gcina, who is a member of this House. These sons were members of MK and they died in the struggle. [Applause.]
Madam Speaker, the hon Maree asked the question: What happens when Mandela goes? When Mandela goes. Comrade Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, will assume the presidency of this Republic. [Applause.] He will steer this country towards nation-building, national reconciliation and a speedier process of democratic transformation. [Applause.] Comrade Thabo Mbeki will continue with the implementation of the policies of the ANC. [Applause.] The reason why the hon Maree is scared of Comrade Mbeki's message is that Comrade Deputy President Mbeki has emerged as an incisive and unflinching champion of the most noble aspirations of our people. That is why the latest opinion polls show that Comrade Thabo Mbeki is the second most popular leader in the country after Comrade Mandela. [Applause.]
I will be doing an injustice if I do not express my disappointment with the approach taken by the IFP's speaker, the hon Mncwango, in this debate. For its part, the ANC has done everything possible to focus the attention of the House on the main issue in this debate, which is truth, reconciliation and national unity. It is the victim of apartheid system who have used this debate to put our struggle into correct political, theoretical and historical perspective . What does the IFP ‘s speaker do ? Of course, he does not reciprocate the generosity exhibited by the ANC to the IFP in this debate. Instead, more than half of his speech was an attack on the ANC, the UDF and uMkhonto weSizwe. Thankfully, the ANC speakers refused to follow his example and upheld the dignity of this debate in their speeches, [Applause]
I want to say to the DP and Tony Leon that mere speeches criticising apartheid in the past, especially in relation to the DP and its predecessors, was no qualification to be an anti-apartheid fighter. It is common knowledge that liberals in this country opposed all legitimate measures to destroy that evil system. They opposed strikes, they opposed boycotts, they opposed sanctions and they opposed the armed struggle. [Interjections.]
Our first concern as the ANC, as it should be for all of us in this House, is the victims of cruelty, torture, deprivation and degradation. The ANC's participation in this debate was directed at ensuring that the pain, the views and the aspirations of the victims were heard and their dignity restored.
The question that arises from this debate is: Has the opposition, especially the NP and the DP, no shame in using this debate to attempt to get a pound of political flesh from the same electorate who are the victims of racist oppression and repression? Those of us who sit on this side of the House are haunted and traumatised. We see in our waking moments the face of little Fritz Schoon as the bomb exploded in his mother's hands.
We lost some of the finest of our generation, not only to death, but also to the trauma of violent loss. We lost some of our nation's finest children. Their lives were destroyed and their talent wasted. And what of the parents who still do not know where their children lie? Are they not victims even if they never came before the commission? I challenge those who perpetrated oppression to shed a tear for just one of those victims. [Applause.]
To quote the TRC chairperson. Archbishop Tutu:
The greatest sadness has been the reluctance of white leaders to urge their followers to respond to the remarkable generosity of spirit shown by the victims. This reluctance, indeed this hostility, has been like spitting in the face of victims.
So it comes as a shock when we see the process ignoring the feelings of the victims and appearing to favour the perpetrators, treating the process in a legalistic rather than a humanitarian manner. When victims appeared before the TRC, they relived their painful experiences at the hands of the facist police, but the murderers boasted about their torture methods, the ways and means, and the scores of victims they murdered.
Last week my own torturer, Jeff Benzien, was granted amnesty for the killing of Ashley Kriel and for the torture of many of us who spoke against an unjust, illegitimate state. We did not learn of this from the TRC. We did not receive counselling from the TRC. No, we heard about it when a reporter called for our comments.
This is not the compassion that we expect, and it pierces the hearts of victims when we see perpetrators talk about their actions without a hint of remorse or apology.
In order to help these victims, we need a caring South Africa, a South Africa with leaders who love their people and wish to serve them tirelessly, as Comrade Tambo did, and as Comrade Mandela and Comrade Mbeki now do.
To those who sit in this House and say "I did not know," we say:
When we tried to tell you, we were locked up. When we tried to tell you, we were tortured, maimed and killed. When we demonstrated, we were teargassed and mown down. When Africans escaped joblessness and hunger in the Bantustans and came to the cities for work, they were bounded down as criminals, arrested and put into trucks and trains, as the Nazis' victims were, and dumped in the Bantustans.
The findings of the TRC on the media conclude that the mainstream media "failed to affirm the freedom of the press in a satisfactory manner". This imposes an obligation on the media today in our constitutional state, where freedom of expression is enshrined, to contribute positively to the national effort of unity and reconciliation. Too often we see the very real problems that exist in our society sensationalised in order to boost sales, while the historical context which gives rise to the tensions that still plague our society is ignored.
The TRC plays but a small part in the healing process of our nation. We must now continue with the process of healing, reaffirming our commitment not only to the truth, but also to the upliftment of the poor and to bettering the lives of all our citizens, so that we can all share in the bounty of our land. In closing, I quote President Mandela:
We should pay tribute to 20 000 men and women who relived their pain and loss in order to share it with us, the hundreds who dared to open the wounds of guilt, so as to exorcise it from the nation's body politic - indeed, the millions who make up the South African people and who made it happen, so that we could indeed become a South African nation.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, as I indicated earlier, we came together today to launch a national debate. On behalf of all of us I want to thank the President for addressing us and remaining with us for these many hours. We came together not to provide a final judgement on the report of the TRC and its recommendations - nor was this the occasion to accept the report or to reject it - but merely to acknowledge its importance and respond to it.
In 1994 South Africans faced the challenge of converting a negotiated compromise between warring groups into a process which would lay the foundations of genuine reconciliation and peace. Today's debate has been another step on this long journey.
Many views have been presented along the way: glimpses of a vision of a future that encompassed the maturity of the miracle that has begun to unfold in our country, a future where, as one member said, our children can laugh together, sing together and play together. But also there has been an articulation of views of many seen from where they stood in the spectrum of our rigidly divided past. Many perspectives, ideas, reservations and grievances reflecting our different experiences have been revealed. Attention has been drawn to the sectors of society, including the judiciary and media, which failed to take the historic opportunity to participate in the process of self-examination.
The challenge for all of us is not to remain trapped in the past. but to reach out and try to understand the other view. the other experience, the other perspective, and to accept the bona fides and sincerity of those who put it forward. Reconciliation requires that we break out of the ghettoes of the past and try to understand each other, albeit that we may not agree.
The President alluded to this earlier today when he said:
As we reach out across the divisions of centuries to establish democracy, we need now to work together in all our diversity, including the diversity of our experience and recollection of our history, in order to overcome the divisions themselves and eradicate their consequences.
It is incumbent upon us, as elected representatives of the South African people, representing all those who are referred to in the report and the many millions who are not, to ensure that the search for reconciliation continues. Members should take this debate into their constituencies and communities throughout the country. Parliament needs to create forums and mechanisms that will enable our society as a whole to continue the debate and further the process of reconstruction and reconciliation.
All of us here in this Parliament are South Africans. All of us carry the burden of our collective past. Most importantly, all of us are part of our country's future and committed to it. It is this commitment which must be reflected as we respond to the President and shape the recommendations of the commission into concrete programmes of action that will contribute to the reconstruction of our society.
This Parliament, as the repository of the values and principles that guide the progress of our country, must assume the responsibility to take forward the process of reconciliation. As we do so , I place before you some words from the prayer for his country by Rabindranath Tagore:
Wherer the world has not been broken up into fragments,
By narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father let my country awake!
The Joint Siting rose at 20:51