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Wednesday, October 28, 1998 Published at 09:16 GMT


World: Africa

ANC rebuttal for Truth report

The Truth Commission aimed to be non-partisan

South Africa's ruling African National Congress has rejected allegations made against it by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In a 25-page statement, the ANC said a leaked document accusing it of gross human rights abuses was "capricious and arbitrary".


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The Commission report - which is due to be presented to President Nelson Mandela on Thursday - is said to implicate the ANC in torture, executions and civilian bomb attacks during its time as an exiled movement fighting against apartheid.

However, the ANC statement accused the TRC of "grossly misdirecting" itself "through the pursuit of objectives which were contrary to the commission's founding legislation".

It said the ANC would "always be proud of what [ANC members] did to ensure that, in the process of the destruction of a vile system, they did not themselves resort to vile methods of struggle on the basis that the means justifies the end."

The ANC also warned against blanket criticism of the white community. It said the TRC report should not "convey a message that especially the Afrikaners were individually and intrinsically bad".

The ANC has been at odds with the Commission since it refused demands for a meeting with ANC officials to discuss the findings. The ruling party believes that abuses committed in the course of the struggle against apartheid cannot be equated with abuses committed by the apartheid state.

Despite the accusations against the ANC, the majority of the abuses described in the TRC report are expected to be those committed by the former government and its armed forces.

'Even-handed'

Before the ANC issued its rebuttal, the South African Justice Minister Dullah Omar - an ANC member - said the Truth Commission process had been extremely generous.

"It has never been one sided ... it's regrettable that people criticise the TRC and say it is not even-handed," the former anti-apartheid lawyer said.

Asked about the possibility that the TRC might recommend the prosecution of senior ANC members, Mr Omar said the government would be handing a copy of the report to National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, who would decide on prosecutions.

Mr Ngucka is himself a former ANC senator, but has won praise for his non-partisan approach in justice matters.



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