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Bodies of missing apartheid victims found

The remains of five people who disappeared during apartheid-era political violence will be returned to their families in a ceremony at the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) office in Pretoria on Sunday. "These person's remains have now been formally identified and can be returned to their grieving families. The NPA have been assisted in this task by forensic experts from Argentina," said Khulumani Support Group chairwoman Marjorie Jobson on Thursday.

"The group welcomes this process of exhumation, identification and return of bodies to their families."

Jobson said Khulumani was concerned that it has taken nearly seven years since the submission of the first report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to Parliament for a start to be made to investigate the whereabouts of those who went missing during apartheid-era political activities.

"Khulumani calls on government at this time to assist organisations working on these outstanding matters and to allocate the remaining resources in the President's Fund to programmes that assist in rebuilding the lives of all those affected by apartheid-era political violence and gross human rights violations," she said.

Apparently it was only because President Thabo Mbeki ordered the finalisation of this aspect of the "Unfinished Business of the TRC" in a speech made in 2003 that there had been some progress in respect of the 477 persons reported missing to the TRC, said Jobson.

"Khulumani Support Group has been at the forefront of actively caring for the families of the bereaved, starting at the time of the TRC.

"Khulumani has accompanied these families through the events of the past eleven years as their hopes of recovering the bodies of their loved ones have at times been raised, only to be dashed again."

The support group called on all civil society organisations, nationally and internationally, that were at all concerned about the plight of the families of the disappeared to actively support them while the search for the remains of their loved ones continued.

"Khulumani Support Group calls on businesses, locally and abroad, to contribute to Khulumani's campaign so that the affected families can be supported," Jobson said. - Sapa


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