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Archbishop of Cape Town to convene civil society conference on reparations

Posted on: August 19, 2003 1:17 PM
Related Categories: Southern Africa

[ACNS source: Church of the Province of Southern Africa] Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane is to convene a two-day conference on reparations for various categories of apartheid survivors, who he believes are the responsibility of every South African.

Scheduled to be held at Randburg Inn on August 28 and 29, the conference has been planned by representatives of a number of major organisations, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Jubilee 2000, Khulumani and the South African Council of Churches.

There will be input by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), government and the business sector, followed by perspectives from a broad spectrum of organisations.

Archbishop Ndungane said, “We are determined that this will not be another chat shop, we must emerge with a set of agreed resolutions in order to break the logjam that is causing so much pain and disillusionment among those who deserve our consideration. Nobody who fought for our liberation expected to be paid but there are instances where people were so brutalised that they cannot be simply swept under the carpet of our fledgling democracy or left to cope in our new society.

“Nor should these damaged people have to resort to the courts for the compassion that flows from reparations. Every sector of our society has a moral obligation to ease their pain, particularly as many of the victims forfeited their right to legal process when they bared their souls to the TRC. Government, in particular, has a responsibility in this regard but civil society cannot stand on the sidelines on this important matter.

“Our transformation was built on the premise of restorative justice of which reparations and reconstruction are key elements.”

The archbishop intends mooting a national reparation fund to which business, civil society and individuals can contribute. “I know times are tough, but...just think what we could achieve if every business responded with a small percentage of profit. Our God is a generous God. How wonderful it would be if we could mirror that generosity.”