The Truth and Reconciliation Commision

Andrew Haw


History Assignment

Topic 7


This essay will look critically at the ANC and NP submissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (here after referred to as the TRC) with a view to determining how accurate these documents were in revealing the true story of South African History. To start with one must look at the Mandate of the TRC. This will serve to prove that the writings could have been manipulated to down play infractions of human rights. Next one must consider the documents themselves which will help to show that there are discrepancies in the story and finally one must look at the forgotten points of view. While this has little bearing on the documents one cannot have an accurate picture without everyone’s point of view.

The TRC was mandated to uncover the truth of the sufferings of all the people under the Apartheid government. But, there were a few problems with its mandate that could allow the relative parties to manipulate the truth. The first and most important problem was the Mandate. Richard A. Wilson says that the TRC was mandated to deal with gross violations of human rights, torture, murder etc. it did not deal with the more mundane enforcement of the Apartheid system like forced removals, separate amenities and Bantu education. This meant that the TRC dealt mainly with the major incidents and not with everyday matters. (Page 34 the politics of truth and reconciliation in South Africa. Cambridge University press 2001. Print) this meant that both the ANC and NP could skip over the intricacies of the day to day violence that was seen in the latter years of Apartheid. This one feels will have some bearing on what both parties will have included in their submissions to the TRC.

The evidence of these omissions is in the parties submissions. The NP does not at any point go into the pain and hardships that the people faced during Apartheid other than the major catastrophes that they inflicted on the...