• Written by  PERTUNIA RATSATSI -
  • Published in In the News
  • Read 1946 times

Government let us down

MAVIS Phungula, a victim of apartheid violence, says she could not send her son to his matric dance because she cannot secure a job. 

Phungula, 47, was injured by a bomb that exploded at her workplace in Germiston when she was seven months pregnant. The bomb was left in a trailer outside her workplace by a group of white men.

She survived through it all and gave birth to a boy named Mandla (Power).

Phungula, was among scores of victims of apartheid violence attending the South African Coalition for Transitional Justice-organised National Dialogue on Reparations at Unisa this week.

"Doctors found that window glass had penetrated my body," she explained. "But I was able to vote two days later."

Phungula said she had not been able to get a job because of permanent injuries she had suffered.

"I feel the government has neglected us," she complained. "I was declared a victim by the TRC but I am not benefiting from the promises made to us. I only received R30,000 from the government in 2005 and that was it".

The organisers of the event - funded by the Foundation for Human Rights - seek to use dialogue as a tool to deal with the country's past and build a better future.

Phungula said her son might not be able to further his education because he was not receiving the financial support victims and their families were promised by the government.

At the same time others who attended the event, most of them members of Khumbulani Support Group, also demanded reparations for people who suffered under apartheid.

The group said people qualifying as victims of apartheid were promised educational assistance for their children, and medical help and houses.

Others present claimed the government had neglected them by not assisting them financially. They added that they had been let down but the TRC, which had only focused on a small group of people and left out more than 100,000 victims.

Addressing the victims the Department of Justice's TRC unit chief operations officer, Khotso de Wee, said it was government policy for the department to look only at the list of people declared victims by the TRC.

"There is nothing that empowers us to assist people outside the list in any way," De Wee said. "A total of 21,769 people were declared victims by the TRC but only 16,000 people applied. We found most of them and only 255 people are left and are mostly in KZN.

"We do not refuse to help people. Our predicament is policy and law."

De Wee said they had identified 18 communities that would be the first to receive rehabilitation. Mamelodi and Alexandra would be first to receive help.


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