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Thursday, October 29, 1998 Published at 06:59 GMT

World: Africa

Tutu 'devastated' by report doubts

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: ''Devastated"

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he is devastated and very sad about a legal challenge from the governing African National Congress to the publication of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "We have done this work with integrity, conscientiousness, with passion"
Archbishop Tutu, who chaired the TRC investigation into crimes committed during apartheid, said he had not fought against one tyranny only to see it replaced by another.

"We've made mistakes, but we believe we have done a good job of work. And it is desperately, desperately distressing that this should occur," he said.

His comments came as a South African judge considered a last-minute request by the ANC for an injunction to block the publication on Thursday of the TRC's final report.

Handover expected

Greg Barrow: The TRC's reputation is in tatters
The 3,500-page document is still expected to be officially handed over to President Nelson Mandela. But it will not be released to journalists until Judge Wilfred Thring in Cape Town makes his decision regarding the ANC's application.

The ANC is trying to prevent the publication of allegations that it was involved in bomb attacks on civilian targets and the torture and murder of suspected police spies.

It claimed it did not have the opportunity to respond to the accusations.

ANC Deputy Secretary-General Thenjiwe Mtintso expressed outrage that the commission was saying it was guilty of "gross violations of human rights".

To condemn the ANC would "criminalise the whole liberation struggle," she said.

However BBC Africa Correspondent Jeremy Vine says the ANC could hardly have found a better way of damaging itself - world attention is now focused on the tiny part of the report which makes criticisms of it.

Second legal action

The ANC has dismissed comparisons with the earlier legal challenge by South Africa's last apartheid President, FW de Klerk.

His court action led the TRC on Wednesday to announce it was removing a section of its final report that implicated him in a series of bombings in the 1980s.

Mr de Klerk had been told the report would say he had evaded questions about whether he knew of plans to bomb the offices of organisations supporting the black liberation movement.

Reconciliation proves difficult

Correspondents say the attacks on the TRC from both sides of the apartheid struggle show just how difficult reconciliation has been in South Africa four years after the fall of apartheid.

The TRC was established with the blessing of the ANC in 1995 to investigate crimes committed during the apartheid era, with the aim of providing "as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights".

In the past two years the TRC has heard testimony from over 21,000 victims of apartheid.

It completed its work on 31 July 1998, except for ongoing amnesty investigations, which will continue until next June.

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