ACCESSING OF TRC DOCUMENTATION


ADDRESS BY
MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI, MP
MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

CAPE TOWN: MARCH 7

Today South Africa moves one step closer to a still far distant truth. After two years of litigation, today I am finally exercising my right to access the information which the TRC collected about me and about the Inkatha Freedom Party. This resulted from the settlement reached in the Constitutional Court litigation.

In its interim report, the TRC made completely false and preposterous findings about me and the IFP. However, paradoxically enough, this organ of the State ostensibly dedicated to the truth has been exempted by its establishing law to be held up to the test of truth. The law enables the TRC to say anything it wants in its report, no matter how distant from the truth, for as long as it does so on the basis of somebody having conveyed the relevant information to it. The TRC reports what is told to it, whether it is true or not, and in spite of the fact that its truthfulness could not be ascertained or challenged through cross examination and independent verification of evidence.

Therefore, the only recourse I had under the law to deal with the false and preposterous allegations against me and my Party, was to challenge the TRC to produce the information it received and on which it based its findings. For two years the TRC has not produced this so-called evidence. It also failed to comply with the requirement of the law to give me and the IFP prior notice of its contemplated findings, so that we could exercise our fundamental right of rebutting the lies against us.

Now that documents are beginning to be disclosed, I am confident that it will be proven beyond doubt that no credible evidence exists to detract from the proposition that I have never perpetrated, ordered, authorised, ratified or in any way condoned any gross violation of human rights. I have been one of the few leaders of the liberation movement and one of the few involved in the conflicts of the past who abhorred and never condoned or relied on any type of violence, armed struggle, intimidation or human rights abuses.

We still need to work hard to understand the truth about the conflicts of the past. The TRC sought to reduce the black-on-black conflict within the dynamics of the black-on-white conflict, failing to understand its true nature. Perhaps the future will give us the serenity of really understanding what went on, in all its tragedy and horror. The action I am taking today is to foster this long-term process of coming to terms with the real truth, required to reach genuine reconciliation.

I thank the members of the press who are with me today to witness and share this historic moment.

 

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