Constitutional Court judge Richard Goldstone added his name to mounting criticism of the government for failing to provide reparations to apartheid victims who testified at the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Speaking at the Johannesburg launch of TRC deputy chairman Alex Boraine's book on his experiences within the TRC, A Country Unmasked, Goldstone said he shared the frustration of which Boraine had spoken earlier in the evening. Quoting Education Minister Kader Asmal, Goldstone said South Africans were left with a "peculiar" situation where hundreds of apartheid's defendants had been granted amnesty through the TRC legislation, but the thousands of victims had not yet received their promised, and legislated, reparation.
Boraine said countries all over the world, from East Timor to Nigeria and Sierra Leone, had approached the TRC asking that the South African experience be shared with them. "Our experience is highly prized overseas," he said. It was far more prized there than in South Africa where society was embroiled in day-to-day problems such as poverty and the delays in announcing the date of the local government elections.
While the TRC's make up was not without its problems, it was fortunate that the commission was not lead by lawyers. Goldstone said Boraine and former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, who was the TRC's chairman, were both "fine-tuned" to the pain of the apartheid victims who testified at the hearings. Goldstone praised Boraine's book and said he hoped it would encourage South Africans to grapple more fully with the country's hereditary problems.
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