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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 11:11 GMT
Tutu urges apartheid prosecutions
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
South Africa should have prosecuted the perpetrators of apartheid-era atrocities who did not seek amnesty, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said.

The archbishop was interviewed on South African radio to mark the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The TRC, chaired by Archbishop Tutu, was set up to probe human rights violations under apartheid.

Perpetrators had the opportunity to ask for amnesty in return for confessing.

"We have probably not done as well in regard to... those who thumbed their noses at the truth commission," the archibishop said.

We clearly need to ask ourselves whether we have done what we need to do to overcome the stereotypes that were entrenched over many years by racist policies of the past
President Thabo Mbeki
"We probably should have done what the legislation requires and really prosecuted people," he told SABC radio.

Out of 7,112 perpetrators who applied, 849 were granted amnesty.


He also said victims did not receive adequate compensation, particularly since those who testified before the TRC surrendered their right to seek damages in court.

"I think that we as a nation have been less than generous in the money reparations that we have offered to the victims," Archbishop Tutu said.

The government did not begin paying compensation to victims until December 2003, more than five years after the TRC had presented its findings.

A fund of 660m rand ($100m) was set aside to make one-off payments of 30,000 rand to 22,000 victims - considerably less than the 3bn rand fund recommended by the TRC.


President Thabo Mbeki, speaking to mark the Reconciliation Day public holiday on Friday, said South Africans of different races had not done enough to overcome the divisions of the past.

"While parliament has worked very well in the last 11 years to remove apartheid laws from the statute, we have not seen the same level of rigorous people's initiatives to create a non-racial and non-sexist society," Mr Mbeki told a crowd in the capital, Pretoria.

"We clearly need to ask ourselves whether we have done what we need to do to overcome the stereotypes that were entrenched over many years by racist policies of the past, or we still quietly pander to those stereotypes."

The TRC spent two years listening to the testimony of more than 20,000 victims and perpetrators at public hearings.

However, unknown numbers of people who were responsible for killings, torture and other atrocities never came forward to testify.

PW Botha, who was president during the late 1980s when the government was operating death squads and frequently using torture against its opponents, famously refused to co-operate with the TRC and received a suspended prison sentence.

But most of those who failed to testify have not been identified.

Truth Commission report: At a glance
16 Feb 99 |  Truth and Reconciliation

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