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International Day of the Disappeared Event: August 30

Khulumani Support Group, the national membership organization of 54,000 victims and survivors of apartheid-era political violence, will be commemorating International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, 2006 at an event at Constitution Hill, between 11:00 and 14:00. The event is being organized in association with the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

Khulumani Support Group, the national membership organization of 54,000 victims and survivors of apartheid-era political violence, will be commemorating International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, 2006 at an event at Constitution Hill, between 11:00 and 14:00. The event is being organized in association with the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

The lack of finalization of the cases of the disappeared in South Africa is an ongoing source of deep pain and anguish for thousands of families affected by the disappearance of a loved one. They have never stopped hoping for information about the circumstances that surrounded the disappearance of their loved ones. The TRC received testimony about some 477 of these cases. But there were, in fact, many more.

The resolution of the cases of the disappeared is one of many issues that, in the recent words of former President de Klerk, ?must at some stage be resolved.? Khulumani is focused on facilitating the resolution of these issues so that we can all, both black and white, reclaim our dignity, and rebuild our social relationships.

Khulumani believes that there are many white South Africans who live with haunting memories of what they did to other South Africans. We humbly request anyone who has information related to an enforced disappearance, to come forward to disclose this information to the organization. Disclosure of the truth and the sharing of information is the way to achieve healing for both victim and perpetrator.

Khulumani welcomes the recent symbolic apology of former Minister of Law and Order Mr. Adraan Vlok and we are grateful for his meeting some two years ago with the Mamelodi Mothers of the Disappeared where he apologised for the disappearance and killing of their sons and husbands. At that meeting Mr. Vlok undertook to influence former members of the security police to come forward to meet with victims. Sadly, this has not happened.

We insist that Mr. Vlok meet directly with Khulumani Board member Shirley Gunn and apologise for his actions in the SACC bombing. This will be a credible example to be followed by those perpetrators who refuse to make an apology to victims.

Such a case is Mr Cronje, a former security policeman who was granted amnesty. Earlier this year, Mr Cronje agreed to meet the Mamelodi Mothers of the Disappeared, but only to assert that he stood by his declaration to the TRC that he had been merely carrying out orders. He refused to make an apology for his actions.

Khulumani believes that Mr Cronje, together with others, have not yet made the journey from the old South Africa to the new South Africa ? a South Africa in which we allow ourselves to be absolved of our pasts, so that we can participate fully together as equals in building a new future.

Khulumani is using International Day of the Disappeared to call on all South Africans to express their abhorrence of the phenomenon of enforced disappearance and to assist in reaching the resolution of these issues that we all so badly need and desire.

Issued by Khulumani Support Group

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