Can the NPA save face on unresolved [historical] apartheid deaths?

Crime scene collagesource: Mail & Guardian
published: 20 June 2019

Several important steps have been made over the last two weeks on the thorny and long-ignored plight of the prosecution of post Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) cases.

These include the announcement two weeks ago that the TRC’s victims’ database has after a nine-year legal battle been made accessible to the public, thanks to the work of the South African History Archive (SAHA); the dismissal, by a full bench of the Gauteng High Court, of the application for a stay of prosecution by former security policeman João Rodrigues in the Ahmed Timol matter; and the granting of an order in the case of disappeared Umkhonto weSizwe activist Nokuthula Simelane that she be officially regarded as deceased.

READ MORE: TRC commissioners demand justice

On the surface, it seems that some of the bureaucratic obstacles that have hampered the search for justice for many families who lost loved ones during the struggle are slowly being moved aside by the government. This seems to show a new willingness by government to make good on one of the fundamental agreements made in order to ensure the peaceful negotiation to democracy a quarter of a century ago.

That promise was the prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations who did not use the opportunity for amnesty made available to them by the TRC process.

It seems that the complicated, murky, probably deeply uncomfortable but perhaps ultimately revealing truth of these cases is being approached.

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