HomeReparationsGovernment /  SACTJ Reasons for Rejecting the State’s Reparations Regulations
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 14:15

SACTJ Reasons for Rejecting the State’s Reparations Regulations

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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 a very superficial consultation process with victims and other stakeholders.

Victims and survivors reject the regulations because they do not address the key concerns of victim communities that the reparations programme should be comprehensive and inclusive and should facilitate the restoration of the dignity of all victims of apartheid gross human rights violations. Thousands of victims and survivors have lobbied for justice for victims over the thirteen years since the closure of the TRC.

The SACTJ similarly rejects the present regulations because they fail to meet the state's legal obligations to provide reparations and because they perpetuate the post-apartheid experience amongst victims and survivors that the state has prioritised special dispensations for perpetrators over providing redress for victims and survivors. Victims perceive this imbalance as a betrayal of the compact made in the Preamble to the Constitution 'to honour those who suffered for freedom and for justice in our land.'

Khulumani tabled a set of proposals with the DOJ on December 13, 2010 that provide an approach that is inclusive and that maximises the impact of reparations funding to meet victims' urgent needs. These proposals have been widely endorsed by victim communities including TRC-identified victims and victims who did not succeed in accessing the TRC for many legitimate reasons as well as 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 through the current regulations that have been tabled without consideration of the many legitimate concerns that have been presented to government. 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 legal obligations to make reparations to 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.

Khulumani 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 regulations announced by the Department shows a dismissive attitude to the needs expressed by victims. The process of consultation needs to start afresh and need to be characterised by respect by the state for the immense and costly contributions of so many South Africans.

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