“DURING apartheid we suffered because we were black; now we suffer because we don’t have money,” said Beauty Mantashe, among protesters outside Parliament decrying the government’s failure to assist victims of apartheid violence.
Organised by the Khulumani Support Group, about 50 protesters, most elderly women, braved cold and wet weather yesterday.
Khulumani is campaigning for the government to compensate victims from the President’s Fund, set up on the instructions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The President’s Fund was established in 2003 under President Thabo Mbeki to compensate apartheid victims. It has accumulated over a billion rands. Nevertheless, many apartheid victims who were identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to receive compensation from this fund, have still received nothing. Some have died waiting.
The fund was established in 2003 in terms of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, more commonly known as the TRC Act.
Ram Bhandari of the Nepali National Network of Families of the Disappeared and Missing offers an important critique of the transitional justice industry, an industry dominated by big NGOs and think tanks: Nepali NGOs have derailed the human rights discourse.
Khulumani has reflected on this before (see Tshepo Madlingozi "On Transitional Justice Entrepreneurs and the Production of Victims" (2010, Journal of Human Rights Practice) .
Below is an excerpt from Ram Bhandari's interview with Kamal Raj Sigdel and Darshan Karki:
Khulumani Support Group agrees with Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza’s statement that government has failed the victims of apartheid.
Advocate Ntsebeza stated that there had been a shameful lack of political will to deal with the issues of reparations for the apartheid-era victims of gross human rights violations
Khulumani Support Group has welcomed the engagement with Commissioners from the Inquiries and Hearings Committee of the Ivorian Truth Commission. The delegation comprises five Commissioners - Mrs Goffri Kouame Kra, Dr Marie-Paule Kodjo, Mr Nevry Roger, Mr Theophile Toudou and Dr Alain-Pascal Mennan.
The Commissioners are currently involved in hearings processes taking place in Cote d'Ivoire and have come to South Africa to explore issues related to procedural standards for conducting hearings of victims and / or perpetrators and to learn about the provision of assistance to victims and protection to witnesses, if it should be necessary.
Khulumani members constituted a significant percentage of the audience in the debate that was screened on Sunday night, April 7 on SABC3. The programme raised issues of the extent of exclusion of nearly 50% of South Africa's population from what is needed for a life of dignity and contribution.
Minister Malusi Gigaba, Minister for Public Enterprises and a member of the ANC's Economic Transformation Committee, admitted that the many grievances expressed by Khulumani members who used the opportunity to speak out about the circumstances of their lives, were legitimate.
His plea that the underlying causes of the entrenched inequality in South Africa, were structural, were received less warmly by the audience who advocated that the Minister has power to make the right things happen for people.
This video contains extracts from an interview with Dr. Khotso de Wee from the Department of Justice's TRC Unit during the SABC TV News current affairs programme, Zwa Maramani which was aired on 2 April 2013.
In the interview Dr. De Wee talks about payments and reparations due to apartheid victims as proposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The YouTube link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc2ZxVyVkno
At the end of March 2013, the Legal Resources Centre sent a letter on behalf of the member organisations of the South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ) to the Minister of Justice requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the DOJ's plans presently being implemented to disburse R500 million of the Victims' Reparation Fund, the President's Fund, into eighteen municipalities for infrastructure renovation.
BREAKING NEWS from The Philippines: Khulumani welcomes the news of the signing into effect of a new reparations law in the Philippines on the twenty-seventh anniversary of the ending of the Marcos regime.
With thanks to Mr Ruben Carranza, Director of the Reparative Justice Program of the International Center for Transitional Justice, New York.