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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Truth And Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

Established in 1995 under the new ANC* government's Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, the TRC comprised 17 members headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Its first aim was to investigate the gross violations of human rights that had taken place in the period 1960-1994. In a concerted campaign, the TRC held many hearings countrywide in 1996 and 1997 and almost 22 000 testimonies were heard. A separate committee decided on reparation payable to victims, with a government fund of R3 billion being set aside for this purpose. A third committee heard over 7 000 testimonies from former agents of the state who wished to seek amnesty for crimes committed in the service of the government. If such offences were deemed to be politically rather than personally motivated, and providing that full disclosure was made to the commission, amnesty was granted. Such applicants included those of murderer Eugene de Kock, assassin Craig Williamson and the mastermind behind bombings, the former minister of law and order, Adriaan Vlok. The findings of the TRC have since been made available and have thrown light on many previously unknown incidents of human rights abuse as well as the clandestine operations of the state in the apartheid years. High profile assassinations and murders in detention, including that of Steve Biko in 1977 have also been brought into the open.

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.