About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1. Preface

The African National Congress welcomes the establishment of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) and commits itself to assist in ensuring that the Commission realises its objectives.

The ANC campaigned actively for the TRC to be included in the Interim Constitution because we believe that such a Commission can play an important role in ensuring the psychological, intellectual and political well-being of the new democracy. Only by unveiling and acknowledging as far as possible the truth about the realities of one of the most odious and vicious political systems in twentieth century world politics can the millions whose basic human rights were legally trampled upon as a matter of course be accorded the kind of respect which they deserve, and the reparations which are possible. Only by confronting the past can there be genuine reconciliation, nation-building and unity in our country. Creating an official record of what happened could help in a cathartic way to heal South Africans psychologically. By knowing what happened and why it happened, South Africa will be better placed to ensure that the evil deeds of the past are never repeated.

The law defines the parameters within which the TRC is to pursue its investigations, hearings and recommendations. The ANC fully subscribes to this legal process. Our presentation therefore aims to relate directly to matters within the jurisdiction of the TRC, while at the same time providing a context in which points made in the submission can be more fully understood. In this sense therefore, this submission is neither a definitive nor comprehensive history of the period under review; it is rather a brief account addressing the specific issues relevant to the mandate of the TRC.

The ANC intends to make further submissions to the Commission as the need arises. ANC members will be forwarding amnesty applications to the Amnesty Committee, which will provide detailed information on the political objectives of relevant armed operations, the context in which such operations took place, and the lines of command governing operatives concerned.

The ANC respects the independence of the TRC and the integrity of the Commissioners, and will strive to ensure that the public shares this perspective. As an organisation, we commit ourselves to respect the final rulings of the TRC, confident that the objective will be to promote justice for all, as well as ensure socio-economic advancement, particularly to communities which have been systematically and unfairly disadvantaged in the past.

19th August, 1996

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.