Several victims of apartheid expressed disappointment with the R30 000 one-off grants, saying they were not nearly enough. Business welcomed Mbeki's "pragmatic approach.
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"I feel bad, bad. It is peanuts," Sheppard Ndlovu told The Star newspaper. Popi Buthelezi, who is wheelchair-bound after being shot during riots in 1975, said: "The money is not equal to the contributions I made to the liberation of this country. "That amount is not even a fraction of what I need," she told the Sowetan newspaper.
Shirley Gunn, a spokesperson for the Khulumani support group for apartheid victims, said the grants were not sufficient for those with high medical bills. "Those people who are in urgent need of medical care, will say, are my medical expenses going to be paid? Is my psychiatric bill going to be paid? "It's those aspects that are not clearly defined. There needs to be... a lot of more thought put to this," she told SABC radio news.
Although most reactions from victims in the media were negative, some said they were satisfied with the government's decision. "I am quite happy with the amount. Our government is facing huge responsibilities in terms of redressing past imbalances," said Vuyisile Mbundu, who served 10 years in prison for terrorism, and whose brother was shot dead by police. "We should not behave like mercenaries and expect huge responsibilities in terms of redressing past imbalances. I think it is a fair deal."
Mbeki's announcement came after the TRC handed over its recommendations to the government last month. The commission had proposed annual reparations of around R21 000 for up to six years. It also advised that a wealth tax be imposed on companies to contribute to a trust fund. Mbeki rejected the recommendation, saying the government wanted to involve corporates in a "co-operative and voluntary partnership".
The country's largest business body, the South African Chamber of Business, lauded Mbeki's "pragmatic approach". "We also commend him (Mbeki) on alluding to the fact that business has already contributed to initiatives like the business trust and skills development fund," spokesperson Marius Louw told Business Day newspaper.
- Source: Full article "Victims reject R30 000 reparation grant" appeared on the news24.com website