TO: All Media
ATT: News Editors, Human Rights Reporters
For immediate release
Monday, 22 October 2021
Foundation for Human Rights supports resolution of outstanding TRC recommendations on reparations
The Foundation for Human Rights expresses its full support for the protest held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg by ‘senior’ activists from the Khulumani Support Group, gathered to demand urgent government’s action with respect to the long overdue reparations for gross human rights violations committed during the apartheid.
Khulumani Members indicate in their press statement issued on 20 October 2021:
“On 20 October, 2021, 23 years after the TRC’s final report was delivered to Parliament, Khulumani members held demonstrations around the country. Demonstrators formally presented a memorandum addressed to President Ramaphosa and the Minister of Justice, at the Gauteng Premier’s office and the SAHRC in Joburg, the Polekwane provincial DOJ offices, and Parliament in Cape Town. Khulumani had sent the memorandum a week ago to the Presidency and the Minister of Justice, asking that they respond to demonstrators when they arrived at Con Hill, at 3 this afternoon.
National government officials neither responded, nor did they send a representative to receive the memorandum or meet the demonstrators at Con Hill. The group then determined to remain there until government meets their demands.”
The protests are a response to the failure by the government of South Africa to effectively implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) with respect to individual and collective reparations. Whereas the TRC developed a relatively good policy on both individual and community reparations, their implementation has been far from successful. The issues include:
- The lack of the overarching policy on reparations in South Africa, which would guide the implementation of individual and collective reparations;
- The arbitrary decision by President Thabo Mbeki to lower the amount of individual reparations from R20,000.00 a year for a period of six years to a one-time payment of R30, 000.00 per victim or surviving family;
- Restricting the payment of reparations to victims registered as ‘victims’ by the TRC;
- The lack of transparency and victims’ participation in developing the regulations on community reparations and rehabilitation;
- The issues around the distribution of other reparations such as education and health reparations;
- And lastly, the lack of clarity on the distribution of funds from the President’s Fund.
The Foundation for Human Rights in its individual capacity but also as part of the South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ) has been engaging with the government on the issue of reparations for almost a decade now. There has been an apparent lack of commitment from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to engage on the matter, and the total failure of the government to develop a clear plan of action with respect to reparations.
We call on the government to meet the demands of the protesters and to engage meaningfully with civil society on the issues of reparations.
* Featured photo credit: protesters at the Constitution Hill, Khulumani Support Group.
For media enquiries contact:
Lindiwe Sibiya, Media and Communication Officer, FHR at email@example.com and 082 634 7154
Foundation for Human Rights
The Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) is a grant making institution supporting civil society organizations in South Africa and the region that implement programmes which promote and protect human rights. The Foundation’s mission is to address the historical legacy of apartheid, to promote and advance transformation in South Africa and to build a human rights culture using the Constitution as a tool. Over the last two decades FHR has played a major role in promoting the rights of victims of apartheid crimes through supporting the recommendations of the TRC including justice and accountability for past crimes, reparations and access to the TRC archives.
For more information about the case and proceedings contact:
 Khulumani Support Group, a non-government organisation (NGO) in South Africa that has been lobbying government to implement a clear reparations policy for the survivors of apartheid-era political violence. Many of the victims live in poverty and tend to ascribe their lot to the gross human rights violations they suffered. Some have lost breadwinners, whereas others have suffered physical or psychological injuries that impair their capability to be gainfully employable. Some of those that were displaced during the conflict have still not recovered from the losses they incurred as a result. Because of these and other reasons, victims stress the importance of individual monetary reparations.