The South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ) has been operational since late 2008. It was initially convened as a loose association of civil society organizations working collaboratively to respond to the Special Dispensation on Political Pardons that would have allowed then President Mbeki to pardon more than one hundred perpetrators who had been convicted and sentenced on account of having committed politically motivated offences before 16 June 1999. When the parliamentary committee implementing the process refused to address the concerns of civil society, these organisations moved to block the implementation of pardons. These concerns focused on the total disregard for the participation of victims in the process as well as the lack of transparency in the process. The organisations involved included: Khulumani Support Group (KSG), Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), South African History Archive (SAHA), Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC).

With the support of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), the SACTJ took their concerns regarding the flawed pardon process to the Pretoria High Court, and succeeded in getting an urgent interdict to stop the process. Subsequently, one of the potential recipients of the pardons, Mr Ryan Albutt, brought an application for leave to appeal this interim interdict to the Constitutional Court. Member organisations were respondents in this case opposing the application brought by Mr Albutt.


In 2010, the Constitutional Court confirmed the decision of the High Court to interdict the President from granting pardons to the applicants without receiving representations from the victims. In particular the Constitutional Court found: “The principles and the spirit that inspired and underpinned the TRC amnesty process must inform the special dispensation process whose twin objectives are nation-building and national reconciliation. As with the TRC process, the participation of victims and their dependants is fundamental to the special dispensation process.”

Encouraged by the successful outcome in the Albutt case, civil society organizations started exploring other areas of collaboration and identified the need for the Coalition to be formally structured. In February 2011, the founding members held a two-day workshop to thrash out the details of SACTJ work and membership. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was generated and circulated among the member organisations. Most signed the MOU in 2012. However, FXI and SAHA resigned as members in subsequent years, as did ICTJ when its South African office closed.

The SACTJ was formed to harness the combined skills, experience and expertise of civil society organisations working in the transitional justice field in South Africa to:

  • Secure the rights of victims of apartheid-era violations;
  • Raise awareness about these rights;
  • Hold government accountable to their obligations with regard to them;
  • Support efforts aimed at ensuring criminal accountability for apartheid era-crimes;
  • Seek reparations for the victims of apartheid.

Since this time SACTJ has held various conferences and meetings, some face-to-face, others were teleconferences. In the recent years, the work of SACTJ has been predominantly focused on holding the government to account for its failure to fully implement its responsibilities in regards to reparations for apartheid era violations. Its engagement with the state has sought to ensure the adoption of an integrated and fully-fledged policy on reparations that would facilitate the implementation of community reparations and the roll-out of individual reparations to all those who qualify as victims.

With the reopening of inquests into the apartheid-era crimes, the Coalition was re-energised to expand and strengthen its work. A two-day National workshop organised by the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) in Johannesburg on 15-16 April 2019 served to consolidate and build a network of interested individuals and organisations.

The Coalition has since engaged in efforts to recruit new members and friends who support its work in relation to all the unfinished business of the TRC.


SACTJ Contact Details


Ms Shirley Gunn, SACTJ’s Chairperson

Email: director@hrmc.org.za


Should you wish to join SACTJ, kindly fill in the membership form and send it back to Shirley for the assessment. To download the membership form, click here.

Member Organizations


The current SACTJ’s members include:


Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) (joined in 2020)

Tel: +27 (011) 717 8600

Mr Tshepo Madlingozi, E-mail: tshepo.madlingozi@wits.ac.za

Ms Thandeka Kathi, E-mail: thandeka.kathi@cals.wits.ac.za

Website: https://www.wits.ac.za/cals/


Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) (Founding Member, 2012)

Tel : +27 (021) 447 3661

Mr Hugo van der Merwe, E-mail: hvdmerwe@csvr.org.za

Ms Nyaradzo (Nyari) Pariola: E-mail: npariola@csvr.org.za

Website: https://www.csvr.org.za/index.php


Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) (joined in 2020)

Tel.: +27 (0) 11 484 0390

Mr Ahmed Mayet, E-mail: amayet@fhr.org.za

Ms Katarzyna Zduńczyk, E-mail: kzdunczyk@fhr.org.za

Website: https://www.fhr.org.za


Imam Haron Foundation (IHF) (joined in 2020)

Tel.: +27 (0) 215315130

Mr Cassiem Khan, E-mail: cassiem.khan@gmail.com

Prof Muhammed Haron, E-mail: mum4mar2@gmail.com

Website: http://www.imamharon.com


The Institute for the Healing of Memories (joined in 2021)

Tel: +27 (021) 683 6231

Ms Fatima Swartz, E-mail: fatimaswartz@healingofmemories.co.za

Website: https://healing-memories.org/


Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) (Founding Member, 2012)

Tel: +27 (021) 202 4071

Ms Felicity Harrison, E-mail: f.harrison@ijr.org.za

Website: https://www.ijr.org.za


Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC) (Founding Member, 2012)

Tel: +27 (021) 761 3303

Ms Shirley Gunn, E-mail: director@hrmc.org.za

Mr Karam Singh, E-mail: karam70@gmail.com

Website: http://www.hrmc.org.za


Khulumani Support Group (KSG) (Founding Member, 2012)

Ms Judy Seidman, Secretary of the Khulumani Board

E-mail: judyannseidman@gmail.com

Nomarussia Bonase, E-mail: nomarussia.bonase@gmail.com


Open Secrets (joined in 2020)

Tel: +27 (021) 447 2701

Ms Tabitha Paine, E-mail: tpaine@opensecrets.org.za

Ms Mamello Mosisana, E-mail: mmosiana@opensecrets.org.za

Ms Raeesa Pather, E-mail: rpather@opensecrets.org.za

Website: http://www.opensecrets.org.za


South Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) (joined in 2020)

Tel.: +27 (0) 10 596 85378

Mr Atilla Kisla Atilla, E-mail: K@salc.org.za

Website: https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org


Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC)- Justice and Peace Commission (joined in 2021)

Tel: +27 (0) 12 323 6458

Fr Stan Muyebe, E-mail: smuyebe@sacbc.org.za

Philani Mkhize, E-mail: pmkhize@sacbc.org.za

Website: https://sacbc.org.za


The Trauma Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture (joined 2020)

Tel: +27 (021) 465 7373

Ms Marguerite Holtzhausen, E-mail: director@trauma.org.za

Website: https://traumacentre.org.za/ 


Violence Prevention Agency (joined in 2020)

Tel: +27 (066) 293 7921

Ms Valdi Van Reenen-Le Roux, E-mail: vvrleroux@gmail.com