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1998: Apartheid report accuses SA leaders

The long-awaited report by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has accused leading figures from across the political spectrum of human rights violations.

In the report into abuses under apartheid, former President PW Botha, Home Affairs minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Winnie Mandela are all singled out for their actions.

The ruling African National Congress is also blamed.

Serious culprits

Mr Botha is held accountable for killings during his time in office, Mr Buthelezi is held responsible for killings carried out by members of his Inkatha Freedom Party, and Ms Mandela is judged to have been implicated in murders and was said to have allowed her home to be used as a place for assault and mutilation.

But according to the report the most serious culprit of the apartheid years is the South African state itself.

When handing over the report the Chairman of the Commission Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "It won't change the fact that they have killed bombed and tortured their own people. Those are not intentions of the Commission."

Accepting the report, President Nelson Mandela declared: "The wounds of the period of repression and resistance are too deep to have been healed by the TRC alone."

"We are extricating ourselves from a system that insulted our common humanity by dividing us from one another by race".

Last minute attempts by the ANC to delay publication of the report failed, but former President FW de Klerk was successful in his bid to delay the publication of sections of the report about his suggested links to state-sponsored bombings.

During its investigation into crimes committed during the apartheid era the commission heard testimonies from more than 21,000 victims.

In Context
The report took the Truth and Reconciliation Commission over two and a half years to compile.

Over 7,000 people applied for amnesty which was granted "to those who made full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflicts of the past".

Many black South Africans were disappointed with the report. They were angry the perpetrators of human rights abuse under South Africa's last white government could be granted amnesty.

In response it was pointed out that punishment was not an aim of the TRC. Its job was to expose the crimes committed.


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