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Exhumations and Beyond

Released 21 March 2005:
The Khulumani Support Group wishes to record its appreciation of the work done by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in facilitating the various exhumations around the country of what appear to be the remains of family members of some of our membership. Khulumani Support Group would like to extend this appreciation to the Ministry of Justice and to President Thabo Mbeki for making this important part of the Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) a priority.

The Khulumani Support Group wishes to record its appreciation of the work done by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in facilitating the various exhumations around the country of what appear to be the remains of family members of some of our membership. Khulumani Support Group would like to extend this appreciation to the Ministry of Justice and to President Thabo Mbeki for making this important part of the Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) a priority.

Khulumani Support Group was founded ten years ago to assist victims of apartheid gross human rights violations in appearing before the TRC and in telling their stories to the Commission and to the Nation. Khulumani has subsequently travelled the long and hard journey of waiting and patience alongside family members, while the issues surrounding reparations were being clarified and finalised, while amnesties were being granted to perpetrators who had committed atrocities, and while numerous previous attempts to find the remains of their loved ones came to nought.

Khulumani will continue to maintain its support for these families, and other families who were victims of apartheid gross human rights violations. For a multitude of reasons, some logistical and some exploitative, many of these families were not included in the TRC process and are not so-called "designated" victims.

Khulumani will continue to be a voice for those South African victims living marginal existences, for those who may still be searching for the remains of family members murdered by apartheid security forces; and for those left incapacitated in multiple ways by human rights violations.

The Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that: "We, the people of South Africa, recognise the injustices of the past; [and] honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land." In contrast to these statements however, most victims of apartheid gross human rights violations have been pushed to the very fringes of our society.

Khulumani Support Group believes that for these victims, the injustices of the past have not yet been adequately recognised, and their suffering for justice and freedom has not yet been sufficiently honoured.

We believe that a major miscarriage of justice has in fact occurred with the failure of those local businesses that aided and abetted apartheid to voluntarily appear before the TRC. These businesses in effect granted themselves a "blanket amnesty".

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