The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was formed in 1995, a year after the election that brought the ANC to power.
It was headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a great man.
Its purpose was to offer amnesty in exchange for full disclosure of events in the apartheid years. This way the country would know what happened, grieve, forgive, and move on. Without the disclosure, the past cannot be put to rest. The world will not wait for South Africa, and South Africa has much to contribute to the world.
The report came out this week. Evidence in its weighty tomes said that FW De Klerk was “morally accountable” for actions during his rule, including bombing of the World Council of Churches.
There was wholesale destruction of evidence by the National Intelligence Agency from 1990 onwards.
There was government research directed towards finding diseases that only black people would suffer from.
And lots more.
Though the bulk of the investigation was directed at the apartheid regime, the ANC was also investigated for its actions in its struggle.
Winnie Mandela stands accused of being central to the formation and activities of a vigilante group, the curiously named Mandela United Football Club, whose members were involved in at least 18 cold-blooded murders, mostly of “informers” to the apartheid regime. One of these was a 14 year old.
The ANC was implicated in killings of civilians and torturing of informers at its training camps in the Eastern Transvaal.
Buthelezi, who as leader of the KwaZulu government for many years during apartheid rule - and leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was held accountable for 3,800 killings during the mandated period (34 years) for investigation. Compare this to 1,100 for the ANC and 700 for the South African Police.
The IFP is also accused of training a force specifically to furnish the party with military capacity to prevent the 1994 elections.
The ANC, currently in power, and likely to win the elections next year, should have simply accepted the report, and left the lions share of guilt to rest on the National Party.
Instead, there has been a last minute fumble, as De Klerk filed an injunction (successful) to prevent accusations against him appearing in the first release of the report. The ANC then tried the same, and was unsuccessful. The ANC now remains uncomfortably in the limelight, complaining that they, the freedom fighters, are being compared to the apartheid regime, the scapegoat of todays ills.
However, the truth is that the ANC has been in power for 5 years, and looks likely to get another five, and they can no longer conveniently blame the “old regime”.
Desmond Tutu leaves for the US to take up a university post for a year, a representation of an ideal job to most, especially white, South Africans.