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Thursday, October 29, 1998 Published at 08:26 GMT


World: Africa

ANC fails to block Truth report

Bishop Tutu was devastated by attempts to stop the report


BBC World is broadcasting live coverage of the handover ceremony from 1000 GMT

 Click here to watch


The ruling African National Congress in South Africa has lost its bid to prevent publication of the final report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into human rights abuses.

The report is now due to be presented to President Nelson Mandela at 1230 local time (1030 GMT).

Publication of the report was delayed early on Thursday by a court challenge by the ANC, which was concerned over sections of the report implicating it in human rights abuses.

Judge Wilfred Thring dismissed the application in the Cape High Court.

TRC deputy chair Alex Boraine described the ruling as "a victory for truth and a victory for justice".

Earlier, TRC chairman Bishop Desmond Tutu said he was "devastated" and very sad about the ANC challenge.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "We have done this work with integrity, conscientiousness, with passion"
Bishop 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.

Handover expected


Greg Barrow: The TRC's reputation is in tatters
The 3,500-page document has now been released to journalists who will read it behind closed doors for two hours, before it is officially handed over to President Mandela.

The ANC court challenge aimed 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 court bid followed 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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