Mrs Phetane discussed the government's failure to implement the TRC recommendations on reparations. She made it very clear that survivors expect government to honour the TRC recommendations of a total reparations package of R120,000.00 to victims of apartheid gross human rights violations.
Mrs Phetane was in dialogue with Mr Tlali Tlali, National Spokesperson for the Department of Justice. Mr Tlali apparently expressed his understanding of the position presented very clearly and assertively by Mrs Phetane and said he would need time to find out more information. He promised to get back to Mrs Phetane.
The reality of interacting with departmental spokespersons and officials is one of almost never being honoured with a response. One example is the lack of any formal response to the memorandum handed over to Mr Bleki Melisizwe of the Presidential Hotline at the Office of the President at the Union Buildings on March 20, 2012. Mr Bleki formally notified Khulumani that given the many efforts he was aware that Khulumani had made to engage the Office of the President, he was taking responsibility to formally hand over the memorandum to the President's Private Office for a response from that office.
Khulumani was provided with an acknowledgement of receipt (see below) of its memorandum and was given the details of the contact numbers of the President's Private Office along with the reference number. The coordinator of the March 2012 engagement with the Office of the President has followed up this correspondence and has been told that the letter has not yet been read by the staff in the President's Private Office.
For Khulumani, the experience over many years has been that government spokespersons express surprise at the level of knowledge and understanding of issues presented by Khulumani's members in their interactions with officials. The officials then make promises to consult with their principals and to report back on their discussions. In many years of active engagement with state officials including with the Office of the President, Khulumani has to date received only one formal written response to its multiple submissions over many years. This was a response from the Chief Operations Officer of the TRC Unit in the Department of Justice. It was a extraordinarily dismissive response.
For a government that has become a founding member of the Open Government Partnership, Khulumani will not relinquish its struggle to secure adequate and timeous responses from its own government. Khulumani welcomes the spirit contained in the Open Government Declaration of September 2011 (see the attached) to which the South african government is a signatory. The declaration commits signatories to embracing transparency and the free flow of information as vital characteristics of responsive and accountable democracies that are able to meet the basic needs of people. Khulumani community activists are amongst the key players to hold the state accountable to these commitments.