The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) says the State must take the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) seriously if the country is to move forward.
In a statement at the weekend, the foundation said the fact that there had been no formal response to the TRC recommendations was “symptomatic”.
It felt that very little ‘full disclosure’ had taken place, that reparations had been inadequate and poorly implemented, and prosecutions had not been forthcoming.
“The country has not done well at the reparation, restitution and redistribution absolutely critical to transformation,” the foundation said.
“In this context, we welcome recent indications that the state is revisiting the TRC recommendations, but urge all decision-makers to prioritise the needs and listen to the voices of those who were intended to be the beneficiaries of the recommendations.”
Letter to Ramaphosa
The statement follows a letter that former TRC members wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.
They asked him to appoint a commission of inquiry into alleged political interference that it believed had stopped the investigation and prosecution of cases it had referred.
City Press reported that the group wanted Ramaphosa to apologise to the victims of those who suffered during apartheid because they felt “justifiably betrayed by South Africa’s post-apartheid state which, to date, has turned its back on them”.
The NMF said the letter to Ramaphosa was “an important contribution to public debate”.
“In our view, however, it is critical that we reach beyond reliance on commissions of [inquiry]and the tropes of international transitional justice discourse. It is self-evident that the undertakings of the 1990s have not been honoured.
“The imperative is to identify implementable strategies for picking up the ball which was dropped and to foreground the needs and the voices of those most disadvantaged by our oppressive pasts.”
The Presidency and the GCIS have not yet responded to requests for comment.