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  • Written by  www.timeslive.co.za
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Victims of apartheid to get TRC payouts

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs this week gazetted proposed regulations paving the way for assistance to victims and their children from the start of their school careers until the completion of their tertiary studies.

The move will result in huge financial assistance being awarded to TRC victims.

However, Dr Marjorie Jobson, national director for the Khulumani Support Group. warned that the exclusion of others who qualify for reparations would create "growing resentment and anger". 

"It's untenable to create an elite group of victims when there were people who suffered gross violations, some of them worse than those who went to the TRC. Don't short-change the future of the country," Jobson said.

Government Gazette spells out how much and who should benefit from fund. 

 The move will result in huge financial assistance being awarded to victims, as well as their children, irrespective of whether they were born in or out of wedlock or were adopted. Those exercising parental responsibility over victims or their children are also eligible for compensation.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs this week gazetted proposed regulations paving the way for assistance to victims and their children from the start of their school careers until the completion of their tertiary studies.

The regulations arise from the work of a joint committee established to consider the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on reparation for victims.

The committee's decisions have been approved by parliament and now have to be implemented by President Jacob Zuma.

According to the gazette, compensation to victims must be paid from the President's Fund - established to provide reparations to those who suffered gross human rights violations during apartheid.

Those eligible include "people who suffered physical, mental or emotional injury" during the apartheid era. Those who qualify will include victims who testified before the TRC in the 1990s, as well as those who made statements or were mentioned in someone else's statements.

The TRC collected statements from about 21000 people.

The gazette proposes the following amounts towards school and university studies:

Victims with children in grade R to receive R30500 a year for school fees, accommodation, textbooks and transport;Children in grades 1-9 to receive R34500 for fees, accommodation, textbooks and transport;Those in grades 10-12 to receive R41500 for school fees, accommodation, textbooks and transport;Those at universities to receive R55000 for tuition fees, accommodation, textbooks and transport for not more than five years; andThose studying at the country's further education and training (FET) colleges and adult basic education centres (ABET) qualify for R41000 and R8000, respectively.

However, Dr Marjorie Jobson, national director for the Khulumani Support Group - an organisation comprising victims of serious apartheid-era violations - warned that the exclusion of others who qualify for reparations would create "growing resentment and anger".

She said her organisation had records of 65000 people who suffered gross human rights violations during apartheid.

"It's untenable to create an elite group of victims when there were people who suffered gross violations, some of them worse than those who went to the TRC. Don't short-change the future of the country," Jobson said.

She said they held discussions with the Department of Justice,urging it not to stick to the limitations of the TRC and to "re-privilege a small group".

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga welcomed the proposals, saying this would help especially orphans. "Very few of these people would still be in the basic education sector," she said.

While welcoming the proposals as "a step in the right direction", former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane said there should be a bigger discussion with the government about the wishes of the people on the issue of reparations.

"There needs to be an engagement with broader civil society. Government should engage with organisations like Khulumani Support Group, which represents people aggrieved by what was done to them during apartheid," he said.

Vincent Moaga, spokesman for the SA Human Rights Commission, said they would only comment after studying the gazette.

Justice department spokesman Tlali Tlali could not be reached for comment.

Government Gazette spells out how much and who should benefit from fund. The move will result in huge financial assistance being awarded to victims, as well as their children, irrespective of whether they were born in or out of wedlock or were adopted. Those exercising parental responsibility over victims or their children are also eligible for compensation.

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