About us

About us

Khulumani Support Group was originally founded in 1995 by a group of survivors of apartheid human rights violations, to provide support and assistance to people testifying before South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 

These small beginnings generated the vision, goals, and structures that persist to this day: Khulumani is a membership-based, civil-society organization which campaigns for truth, healing, and redress for those damaged through our apartheid history, and for the advance of the ongoing struggle to create a democratic, non-racial and just society.

TRC

When the TRC closed down for survivors’ testimony, in 1998, Khulumani members were in a point position to recognize and engage with the “unfinished business” of transformational justice in South Africa. The extent of the TRC’s “unfinished business” remains breath-taking. 

  • By 2003, only a small percentage of those who fitted the TRC categories of defined victims (the so-called KATS categories – Killings, Abductions, Torture and Severe Ill-treatment and bodily harm) had given statements to the TRC. (The TRC recorded 22 000 statements; while the Khulumani database holds over 90 000 records of people who fit these categories – and we do not believe that is a final record.)
  • Many perpetrators refused to testify before the commission, or were denied amnesty; yet the government has charged only a handful of perpetrators for apartheid violations. Khulumani works on a Task Team that is driving progress in respect of these prosecutions. The work is demanding in many ways but the relief of finally securing the truth provides the most possible relief in the circumstances to families of those who died in detention or in other still mysterious circumstances.
  • After accepting the TRC’s final report, government decided to give “final reparations” to only 16 100 people named by the TRC (a fraction of those who might have qualified); and the amount paid out has been a quarter of that recommended by the TRC commissioners. While committed to community rehabilitation processes, these remain under debate because the use of the funds designated by the Naitonal Treasury for direct victim relief and rehabilitation, remains contested and without any implementing policy.
  • The implementation of the TRC recommendations have been left to a TRC Unit in the Department of Justice where The President’s Fund is also located. There have been many difficulties related to the very serious lack of accountability of this Unit to the victims and survivors of the crimes of the past. This struggle continues.

As government commenced post-TRC implementation, Khulumani members were positioned to engage with, and then challenge, what many victims and survivors increasingly described as South Africa’s failed transformational justice process. 

As a membership-based, civil society organization, mobilized through branches, provinces, and national structures, Khulumani gained national and international recognition as the foremost stakeholder in South Africa’s on-going campaign for transformational justice – to hold government and our society as a whole to meet its promises of truth, justice, redress and reconciliation, as recommended by the TRC.

Interventions

Khulumani’s interventions in the decade following the TRC’s final report included:

  1. engagement with the Department of Justice (as the implementing agency for reparations) to ensure identified survivors received benefits allocated;
  2. demanding recognition and redress for those who qualified but for a range of reasons were not included on the TRC lists (this covers those who could not testify for a range of reasons; whose statements were lost or dismissed as incomplete or unverified; people who felt too traumatised to testify; as well  as combatants who were given to understand that the harm that they suffered as individuals would be covered by their organisations’ submissions);
  3. ensuring that government takes measures to bring to justice those perpetrators who had not received amnesty;
  4. working with government on unresolved disappearances and other areas where events and actions remain hidden;
  5. working with government and civil society towards memorialisation and commemoration of people’s sacrifices, suffering, and heroism;
  6. engaging with government towards implementing effective community rehabilitation measures (beyond the individual reparations allocated) that would meet the needs of those damaged by apartheid violations (no community rehabilitation projects have been started, as of the present); and
  7. continuing to seek out mechanisms to hold international corporations who profited from apartheid to account, and to ensure that they provide restitution to people in our country harmed by their actions, through international justice provisions (best-known of these is the international lawsuit still on-going in the US courts).
Khulumani “Gogos project” Thokoza East Rand 2013
Khulumani “Gogos project” Thokoza East Rand 2013

Membership

Khulumani’s membership has soared to over 100,000 survivors and family members of victims of gross human rights violations. Increasingly people throughout the society have realized that the measures taken to redress apartheid damage have left the majority of those affected unable to find repair  –whether from on-going medical damage (both physical and mental trauma), poverty exacerbated by loss of family members or destroyed homes,  and the inability to access education, social services, or basic support. 

Those most harmed by repression and oppression in our past have proved to be those least able to take up the opportunities created by government initiatives (notably B-BBEE initiatives and other programmes including preferential procurement measures and more) To quote one Khulumani member in Aliwal North:

“We fought because we believed that the people shall share in the country’s wealth; only to find out that only some people are now sharing in the country’s wealth”.

Khulumani member in Aliwal North

Governance Structure

  • Khulumani is governed by a Board of Trustees comprising persons elected by Khulumani’s National Steering Committee at the Annual General Meeting, held in Bloemfontein on 27 April 2019.
  • The Khulumani Board is in the process of establishing an Advisory Support Group with specific expertise related to Khulumani’s core issues.
  • The Khulumani Board has scheduled quarterly meetings. The board attends to governance issues.
  • The National Steering Committee oversees the development and support of Khulumani’s community-based membership.
NamePositionContact Details
Mr Gecelo SidumoChairpersonchairperson@khulumani.net
Mr Elpideo MutembaSecretary
Mrs Beauty NdlelaTreasurer
Ms Belinda AmeterraAdditional Member
Ms Tsholofelo LobekoAdditional Member

Management Structure

Khulumani’s National Contact Centre, now based in Pretoria, serves as the coordinating centre of the organisation and the point of access to the organisation for the general public. Its management is the responsibility of the National Directtor assisted by the Finance and Human Resources Officer and the Member Liaison Officer.

The National Steering Committee comprises three representatives from each of the Provincial Steering Committees and meets as far as possible every six months to inform the work of the organisation through cooperative planning and to advise the Board. The office-bearers of the Naitonal Steering Committee assist with Board with all planning and decision-making of Khulumani member groups.

The Provincial Steering Committees comprise representatives from different districts within each province and provide leadership on strategic issues affecting their regions of the country.

Elected Office-Bearers of the National Steering Committee

NamePositionContact Details
Mr Mbulelo Welcome LipileNSC ChairpersonNSCChair@khulumani.net
Ms Nolitha TutaNSC Secretary

Geographic Focus of Operations

Khulumani Support Group has organised member groups in all the provinces – varying between 5 and 10 organised groups per province. The groups meet regularly, either weekly or monthly depending on local conditions.

The organisation has a significant penetration in urban and rural communities across the country where Khulumani members contribute to activities to facilitate constructive change in their local communities, such as

  • participating in Community Police Forums,
  • developing Khulumani SAFIC member groups that work on community social cohesion;
  • serving as members of the Independent Correctional Facilities Visitors under the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Facilities to report on prison conditions and prisoner concerns;
  • serving as IEC-accredited election observers,
  • conducting door-to-door visits to provide care and support to vulnerable households,
  • facilitating after-school activities for learners,
  • conducting community surveys to review the capacity of local municipalities to deal with natural disasters;
  • participating in community commemoration and heritage-related events; and
  • offering social encounter experiences, amongst other activities.

Staff Information

Name RoleQualifications Experience (Years at KSG)
Dr Marjorie Jobson National DirectorMedical Doctor, Organisational Development Facilitator 18
Mr Frans Mogajana Member Liaison Officer ICT Qualification 11
Ms Faradiba MortonFinance & Human ResourcesGrant & Fundraising Support & HR Assistance 4
Mr Pierre le Roux Database &
Information Manager
Degree in Library Science, Website Manager & Citizen Journalism Facilitator17
Mr Dick Mokoena Representative, Khulumani Freedom Park Verification Committee 3
Mr Thapelo Lehobye Social Media Officer Social Media Technical Assistant 2
Mr Charles Ndaba Hlatshwayo Disappearances Officer Investigation, Support & Follow-up to families of the Disappeared 4
Ms Felicity Morton Advocacy & Communication Support Project Officer  Advocacy Support 1
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