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SACTJ rejects the State’s gazetted reparations regulations

PRESS CONFERENCE: FRIDAY 27 MAY 201110:00 CSVR 4th Floor Boardroom, Braamfontein Centre, cnr Jorissen & Jan Smuts Ave, Johannesburg.

The South Africa Coalition For Transitional Justice (SACTJ) rejects the State’s gazetted reparations regulations and demands justice for victims and survivors of apartheid atrocities.

Victims demand that the State honours its reparations obligations to all victims of apartheid gross human rights violations.

PRESS CONFERENCE: FRIDAY 27 MAY 201110:00 CSVR 4th Floor Boardroom, Braamfontein Centre, cnr Jorissen & Jan Smuts Ave, Johannesburg.

VICTIMS DEMAND THAT THE STATE HONOURS ITS REPARATIONS OBLIGATIONS TO ALL VICTIMS OF APARTHEID GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

THE SOUTH AFRICA COALITION FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE (SACTJ) REJECTS THE STATE’S GAZETTED REPARATIONS REGULATIONS and DEMANDS JUSTICE for VICTIMS and SURVIVORS of APARTHEID ATROCITIES.

On 11 May 2011, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) gazetted regulations for the payment of educational assistance and health benefits exclusively to victims identified by the TRC. The regulations were gazetted after only a very superficial consultation process with victims and other stakeholders and do not address the key concerns expressed by these stakeholders.

The organisations comprising the SACTJ reject these regulations which fail to provide the full gambit of reparations needed by individuals who remained severely harmed as a result of apartheid atrocities. In rejecting the proposals, the SACTJ points to the actions of the post-apartheid state over many years in prioritising the needs of perpetrators over the needs of apartheid human rights violations victims and survivors. Measures to achieve political reconciliation in South Africa have not been balanced by redress measures for these severely harmed individuals. This represents the betrayal of a compact forged at the transition with victims of the anti-apartheid human rights struggle in South Africa.

The proposals tabled with the DOJ have been endorsed not only by Khulumani members and by the organisations comprising the SACTJ but also by representatives of all the military veteran associations in South Africa. Victims and survivors stand together with military combatants in declaring their rejection of the false divisions that the state will create not only between those who were recognised by the TRC and those who were not, but also between veterans of the human rights struggle and veterans of the underground military struggle in South Africa. Victims and veterans live together in the same communities and face the same difficulties and challenges. They seek the same comprehensive remedies towards restoring their dignity and their capacities to look after themselves, their families and their communities.

The current proposals represent a failure of the state to deliver on its obligations to make reparations to victims of gross human rights violations. The government is proposing that it only pays for the small group of victims who made statements to the TRC rather than the thousands who legally qualify as victims of gross human rights violations.  Broadening the reach of the reparations provisions was explicitly suggested by the TRC who did not want to set up a privileged group of victims after its very brief operations.  Effective reparations to all victims who qualify is a legal responsibility of the state.  Many victims have come forward after the closure of the TRC to register their concerns. To exclude them would be missing an opportunity for healing deeply traumatised communities and individuals whose lives have been seriously harmed by their courageous stands for truth and justice in South Africa. They represent the failure of the state to give substance to the values and principles made explicit in the Preamble to the Constitution “to honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land.”

The coalition has records of thousands of victims who have been sidelined by the reparations process.  Their needs and priorities have been communicated to the DoJ&CD through numerous attempts to propel the development of appropriate regulations.  The hope that has sustained victims and survivors of apartheid gross human rights violations in their struggle for justice and reparations has been dealt a severe blow.  The regulations announced by the Department shows a complete disregard for the state’s legal obligations and a dismissive attitude to the needs expressed by victims that suffer perpetual harm that cannot be successfully addressed without adequate and inclusive reparations measures.

The process of consultation needs to start afresh.  The DoJ&CD proposals which seem to come out of thin air, do not provide the basis for constructive dialogue about appropriate interventions. Thirteen years after the closure of the TRC, victims and survivors along with military veterans are tired of being treated with such deep disrespect by the state in spite of their huge contributions.

The Press Conference will hear from Khulumani members from across the divide that is being created by the state with the current reparations regulations.

After the Press Conference and on the repeated recommendation of the Presidential Hotline officials, they will move to table their concerns with Luthuli House where the ANC’s National Executive Committee is set to commence a 3-day meeting from Friday May 27, 2011. They will highlight to the members of the NEC the failure of the DOJ to produce effective and inclusive reparations for all those who carried the greatest costs of the struggle in South Africa.

In Cape Town, the  issues will be raised at the public meeting at the Trauma Centre that will launch the SANToC Service Providers’ Network in the Western Cape on Friday May 27, 2011.

On Saturday, May 28, 2011 a Press Conference will take place at 11:00 in the COSATU Western Cape Boardroom at Community House at 41 Salt River Road, Salt River, Cape Town. Khulumani members will speak to the issues at the press conference.

For more information, please call:

  • Dr Marjorie Jobson                        Khulumani Support Group           082 268 0223
  • Ms Nomarussia Bonase              Khulumani Support Group           082 751 9903
  • Ms Shirley Gunn                             Khulumani Support Group           082 450 9276

The SACTJ comprises the Khulumani Support Group, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, the International Centre for Transitional Justice, the South African History Archives, the Human Rights Media Centre, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, the Freedom of Expression Institute and the Trauma Centre for Victims of Torture and Trauma.

The South Africa Coalition For Transitional Justice (SACTJ) rejects the State’s gazetted reparations regulations and demands justice for victims and survivors of apartheid atrocities.

The South Africa Coalition For Transitional Justice (SACTJ) rejects the State’s gazetted reparations regulations and demands justice for victims and survivors of apartheid atrocities.

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