The Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
In 1994 The African National Congress (ANC) and the National Party (NP) agreed to the creation of a commission to investigate apartheid era crimes. The commission would be known as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The purpose of the TRC was to investigate politically motivated violations of human rights during the apartheid era, uncover the truth and make everyone aware of the past so that all South Africans could start and share in the process of reconciliation.
Structure of the TRC
The TRC was a “court-like” body that was established by the new South African government in 1995 to help heal the country and bring about reconciliation for its people.
It was tasked to uncover the truth about human rights violations which had occurred during the Apartheid Era. Human rights violations such as the right to basic education and health and safety were also included.
Its emphasis was on gathering evidence and soliciting as much information as possible from both the victims and perpetrators, instead of only just prosecuting individuals for past crimes.
The commission released the first of five volumes of its final report on October 29th, 1998. Each volume had a particular focus:
Volume 1: was an introductory volume, containing important discussions of key concepts and debates within the commission itself and in society at large. It provided the basis and rationale for the work of the commission, it also described the way the commission worked and the methods it used to fulfil its authorisation.
Volume 2: addressed the commission of gross violations of human rights on all sides of the conflict.
Volume 3: dealt with the gross violations of human rights from the perspective of the victims (a companion to Volume Two).
Volume 4: looked at the nature of society, in which gross violations of human rights had taken place, reporting on a series of ‘institutional hearings’ which...