BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 10/98: Truth and Reconciliation  
News Front Page
N Ireland
UK Politics
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Truth and Reconciliation Thursday, 29 October, 1998, 17:25 GMT
Truth report: Key points
Mandela with TRC report
President Mandela receives the TRC report
  • On apartheid and the state

    The most serious culprit of the apartheid years is the South African state itself, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    "The state, in the form of the South African government, the civil service and its security forces, was, in the period 1960-94 the primary perpertrator of gross violations of human rights in South Africa and, from 1974, in southern Africa," the TRC report states.

    Truth and Reconciliation
    "In the application of the policy of apartheid, the state in the period 1960-90 sought to protect the power and privilege of a racial minority. Racism therefore constituted the motivating core of the South African political order, an attitude largely endorsed by the investment and other policies of South Africa's major trading partners in this period.

    "A consequence of this racism was that white citizens in general adopted a dehumanising position towards black citizens, to the point where the ruling order and the state ceased to regard them as fellow citizens and largely labelled them as the enemy. This created a climate in which gross atrocities committed against them were seen as legitimate."

  • On the liberation movements

    The report emphasises the legitimacy of the liberation movement struggle against apartheid, but holds the ANC other liberation movements accountable for violations of human rights.

    "The ANC and its organs as well as the PAC and its armed formations...committed gross violations of human rights in the course of their political activities and armed struggles, for which they are morally and politically accountable," the report says.

    The commission noted it was ANC policy that the loss of civilian life should be avoided, but said operations by its armed wing uMkhonto weSizwe "ended up killing fewer security force members than civilians".

    In the case of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) - a liberation movement which split from the ANC over ideological differences - the report focusses on the activities of its armed wing, Apla, which targeted white civilians and black leaders loyal to the government.

  • On big business

    The TRC report proposes a series of taxes on business corporations to offset apartheid's legacy of poverty. It recommends a wealth tax and a one-off levy on personal and corporate income.

    It also proposes "each company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to make a once-off donation of one percent of its market capitalisation," and "a retrospective surcharge on corporate profits extending back to a date to be suggested".

  • On the media

    The TRC distinguishes the role of the English-language media under apartheid from that of the Afrikaans media, but finds both guilty of "the racism that pervaded most of white society".

    "The management of the mainstream English language media often adopted a policy of appeasement towards the state, ensuring a large measure of self-censorship.

    "The Afrikaans media, with rare exceptions, chose to provide direct support for apartheid and the activities of the security forces, many of which led directly to gross violations of human rights.

  • On PW Botha

    The report names gross violations of human rights committed by agents of the South African state during the period that Mr Botha was president. These include:

    • "The deliberate and unlawful killing and attempted killing of persons opposed to the policies of the government within and outside South Africa"

    • "The widespread use of torture and other forms of severe ill treatment against such persons"

    • "The forcible abduction of such persons who were resident in neighbouring countries"

    The report concludes that "by virtue of his position as head of state and chairperson of the State Security Council [an inner executive group of ministers in the late 1980s], Botha contributed to and facilitated a climate in which the above gross violations of human rights could and did occur and as such is accountable for such actions."

  • On Mangosuthu Buthelezi

    Mr Buthelezi "is held to be accountable as a leader" of the Inkatha Freedom Party for all the violence committed by the its members. The TRC identifies a "systematic pattern" of murder and attacks by the IFP against its opponents, and also accuses the IFP of working in collusion with South African state security forces.

    The report says that between 1982 and 1994, IFP supporters caused the deaths of about 3,800 people, in KwaZulu-Natal province alone, against only 1,100 caused by ANC supporters.

  • On Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

    The findings against Ms Madikizela-Mandela centre on the establishment of the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC), which the TRC says developed into a vigilante unit operating from Ms Madikizela-Mandela's two homes in Soweto.

    "The commission finds that the MUFC was involved in a number of criminal activities, including killing, torture, assaults and arson. The commission find that Ms Mandela was aware of the criminal activity and the disquiet it caused in the community and deliberately chose not to address the problems emanating from the football club."

    The TRC concludes that Ms Madikizela-Mandela "is accountable, politically and morally, for the gross violations of human rights committed by the MUFC" and "herself was responsible for committing such gross violations of human rights."

  • On prosecuting offenders

    The TRC recommends that where there is evidence that an individual has committed a gross violation of human rights, and where amnesty has not been sought or has been denied, then prosecution will be considered.

    Evidence gathered by the commission that could be used in prosecution will be made available to prosecutors.

    It tells attorneys general to pay "rigorous attention" to the prosecution of police personnel who are found to have assaulted, tortured or killed.

    "In order to avoid a culture of impunity and to entrench the rule of law, the granting of general amnesty in whatever guise should be resisted," the report warns.

See also:

31 Jul 98 | Africa
28 Oct 98 | Truth and Reconciliation
29 Oct 98 | Truth and Reconciliation
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Truth and Reconciliation stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Truth and Reconciliation stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |