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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 10/98: Truth and Reconciliation  
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Truth and Reconciliation Thursday, 29 October, 1998, 17:19 GMT
TRC findings: PW Botha
PW Botha
PW Botha: Found responsible for State Security Council violence
The Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) report has come down hard on South Africa's last hardline apartheid president, PW Botha.

Truth and Reconciliation
The 82-year-old, who ruled between 1978 and 1989, was found responsible for gross human rights violations, including all violence sanctioned by the State Security Council, or SSC, an executive organ of his apartheid regime.

"By virtue of his position as head of state and chairperson of the State Security Council (SSC), Botha contributed to and facilitated a climate in which ... gross violations of human rights did occur, and as such is accountable for such violations," the report said.

According to the report such violations were perpetrated on a wide scale by police and the military under his leadership.

They included killings of people opposed to the policies of his government, and the widespread use of torture, abduction, arson and sabotage.

More specifically, the TRC said Mr Botha had ordered an attack against the anti-apartheid South African Council of Churches (SACC) in 1988.

The panel also found Mr Botha personally responsible for ordering former Minister of Law and Order law Adriaan Vlok and former police Commissioner Johan van der Merwe to destroy a building in Johannesburg housing anti-apartheid organisations.

Force of the SCC

Mr Botha established the SSC to deal with matters pertaining to the security of the apartheid regime.

The commission said that it placed pressure on the security forces to "engage robustly" against persons and organisations opposed to the government.

It also found that the SSC contributed to the prevailing culture of impunity by failing to recommend that action be taken against security force members involved in gross human rights violations.

Mr Botha denies any wrongdoing during his 10 years as president and has refused to seek amnesty under a parallel provision of the truth commission law.

In August this year, he was fined and given a suspended sentence for refusing to testify to the commission on his actions as president until 1989.

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