Truth commissions can be easily defined as “bodies set up to investigate a past history of violations of human rights in a particular country – which can include violations by the military or other government forces or armed opposition forces.” (Hayner 1994: 558)1 they are “officially sanctioned, temporary, non-judicial investigative bodies ... granted a relatively short period for statement-taking, investigations, research and public hearings, before completing their work with a final public report. Mandates of the commission were principally in charge of examining and documenting all the incidents that had occurred during the 1960's and in one of the first elections of the democratic state in 1994. They fundamentally consisted of three separate committees: 1. The Human Rights Violations Committee (HRVC)– who conducted interviews and documented all the stories and horrendous experiences of the apartheid victims who until this time, had not been given this opportunity to be heard and be able to express their story and convey it to the people. National public hearings were conducted and this gave each ad every one of those individuals their rightful allowance of being heard all around the world; 2. The Amnesty Committee (AC) – who ultimately determine the granting of amnesty to those persons who had committed political crimes under the apartheid system; and 3.The Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee - put forth suggestions on reparations for those victims that have been identified to give a report. This includes whether these reparations are symbolic or monetary to the report.1
The first commissions that were made were very limited and mandate officials moved beyond that of regular and traditional styles generating different systems and forms of statement-taking with the inquiry process. Testimonies were taken behind closed doors and moved little beyond the facts related to some distinguished and usual occurrences. Such a, disappearances, untimely death and many torture victims; nothing of historical background, context, reason or consequence was ever investigated. Nahla Valji (2004)2
Creating reconciliation after war and a strictly inhumane regime, there was a whole matter of creating the conditions and grounds for peace amounts the people, and of keeping the peace balanced for the distant and sudden future.3 Not peace in the context of just discontinuing the illegitimate acceptance of physical violence, it is a fight to support people seeking closure and cessation and mental healing for the crimes that have been committed against them... help them overcome their trauma and their suffering, give closure over what has happened with them, what they have been through so that stability and assurance can be built for their coming future. A future we all live to see in contentment and gratification of the coming times.
No Truth Commission can create reconciliation, not within or of itself. Much less is a Truth...