DBE, SA Democracy and TRC PowerPoint (Topic 5)

Topic 5: The road to democracy in South Africa and
coming to terms with the past
How did South Africa emerge as
a democracy from the crises of
the 1990s, and how did South
Africans come to terms with the
Apartheid past?
Background and focus
• Debates around the negotiating process
between the ANC and the NP government.
• The stalemate in the struggle (end of Cold
• The compromise on both sides.
• The need for negotiations – team effort on
both sides.
• Choices made in the process coming to terms
with the past.
The negotiated settlement and Government of
National Unity
• The beginning of the solution
• Unbanning of organisations,
• release of political prisoners
FREE AT LAST: Nelson Mandela is released
from prison on 11 February 1990 after 27
years of imprisonment, the majority of
which was spent on Robben Island. He
raises his fist with his then wife Winnie
Mandela and some of his ANC comrades.
Start of negotiations
• CODESA 1- December 1991- Formal negotiations began at
The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA).
• CODESA I was preceded by three key meetings between the
South African government and the ANC to prepare the way:
- 4 May 1990: Groote Schuur Minute
- 6 August 1990: The Pretoria Minute
- 14 September 1991: The National Peace Accord was
signed by representatives of twenty-seven political
organisations as well as national and homeland
Start of negotiations continued
• They pledged themselves to work together to
achieve greater tolerance.
• The police were reminded of their duty to
protect the people of South Africa irrespective
of race, religion, political affiliation and
Whites only Referendum
• In the period between CODESA I and CODESA II in
early 1992, the National Party lost three byelections to the Conservative Party.
• De Klerk announced a 'whites only' referendum to
test white opinion on reform and negotiations.
• The result of the referendum was a landslide 'yes'.
De Klerk had the mandate he needed.
• De Klerk could no longer use the excuse of white
conservative opinion to procrastinate in moving
towards a non-racial election.
Ongoing violence
• 17 June 1992 – Boipatong Massacre – Members
of Inkatha allegedly attacked hostel dwellers.
• ANC walked out of the negotiation process.
• Breakdown of negotiations at CODESA II.
• The ANC took to the streets with a programme
of ‘rolling mass action’.
On going violence continued
• On 7 September 1992, a crowd of about
80 000 people gathered in Bhisho to protest
against the Ciskei ‘homeland’ government of
Brigadier Oupa Gqozo.
• Ciskeian troops and the South African Defence
Force opened fire on unarmed protesters,
killing 28 people.
The Record of Understanding: September 1992
• Following the collapse of CODESA II, behind the
scenes talks between the ANC and the NP became
the main channel for the process of negotiations.
The two key negotiators were Cyril Ramaphosa of
the ANC, and Roelf Meyer of the National Party.
• The government agreed to:
- Release more political prisoners.
- Erect fences around migrant worker's hostels.
- Ban the carrying of 'traditional' weapons.
• CODESA ended and MK was disbanded.
Multiparty negotiation process resumes
Formal multi-party negotiations resumed.
Murder of Chris Hani – April 1993.
Significance to the process of negotiation.
Date of elections set.
Government of National Unity
• Joe Slovo (SACP) suggested a 5 year Govt of
National Unity (GNU) a ‘power sharing’
• The GNU would include all parties which
obtained over 5% of the vote in democratic
elections for the first five years. This meant
that the National Party was sure to be
• The term 'sunset clause' was used for this
Violence continues
• AWB invasion of World Trade Centre – June 1993
• St. James Massacre - During the Sunday evening
service on 25 July 1993, a group of APLA cadres
attacked the St. James Church in Kenilworth. Using
grenades and AK-47s, they killed 11 members of
the congregation and wounded 58.
• Killing at the Heidelberg Tavern
- An attack on the Heidelberg Tavern took
place in Observatory, Cape Town in
December 1993.
Final road to democracy
• In November 1993 an Interim Constitution for
South Africa was agreed upon.
• March 1994 - Shell House Massacre - IFP members
killed by ANC security forces.
• Freedom Front and the IFP join elections.
• The Government of National Unity – oversee a new
• 27th April 1994 South Africa’s first democratic
How has South Africa chosen to remember the past?
Background and focus
• Debates around the negotiations process
between the government and the ANC
• The need for reconciliation
• The context of violence that threatened the
negotiating process and the success of the
Reasons for the TRC
Various forms of Justice
• Restorative vs Retributive Justice
• Restorative (healing , and addressing the
injustices of the past) – TRC
• Retributive (punishment for
criminal behaviour)
and Nuremberg Trials
Debates concerning the TRC
Positive aspects of TRC
• The TRC's rationale assumed South
Africa to be deeply divided, and in need
of healing - not through a forgetting of
the history of division, but through
formal engagements with that history.
• The TRC was, then, a key instrument in
South Africa's endeavour to find a postapartheid reconciliation.
Debates continued
• The significance of the TRC is related not only to
memory of the past but also to the contribution
to memory of South Africa's transition to
• Future historians of the transition will find the
story of the TRC looming large.
• The records of the TRC are as important a
memory resource as the records of the past
which it has both reclaimed and generated.
Negative aspects of TRC
• It has been suggested that its focus on gross
human rights violations within a specific period
contributes to a skewing of social memory.
• Its processes of selection and interpretation have
been critiqued. It has been accused of political
bias. Many of its findings have been questioned.
• The concept of amnesty has been challenged, and
specific amnesty decisions rejected.
Negative aspects cont.
• Its work of reparation and rehabilitation has
been found inadequate.
• Its contribution to reconciliation has been
• These are important debates. Important at
many levels, not least in terms of their
potential contribution to processes of
• South Africans finding one another, not by
forgetting (in this instance, the work of the
TRC), but by remembering and imagining a
way forward.
• It is crucial, then, that space be provided for
these debates.
• Part of this space is constituted by the archive
of the TRC. Every interrogation of its work will
rely ultimately on access to records of the TRC
and about the TRC.
Amnesty provisions and problem with amnesty
• Perpetrators were to apply for amnesty in
relation to each of their offences, provide a
full disclosure, and prove that their actions
were politically motivated.
• Many applicants for amnesty had already
been convicted through the courts and were
in jail when they applied for amnesty.
• Many others were, however, still free, having
not yet been convicted.
Amnesty continued
• Perpetrators who did not apply for amnesty
faced possible prosecution.
• The only serious incentive to participate in
the amnesty process for those who had not
been convicted was the threat of prosecution.
• The amnesty process was one that was
generally accepted by survivors and society
more broadly.
Focus on Human Rights in the 1980s
Human Rights Violations Committee:
• The violation of human rights through –
(a) the killing, abduction, torture or severe illtreatment of any person; or
(b) any attempt, conspiracy, incitement,
instigation, command
or procurement to
commit an act of
Political Parties and their responses
• The ANC wanted ‘justice’. This probably
would have taken the form of prosecutions
along with reparations and other efforts.
• The former apartheid government wanted
collective amnesty.
• The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
became the creative means for responding to
both needs.
The Final Report of the TRC
• The report of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (the Commission) consists of five
volumes, each with a particular focus.
• Volume 1: It provides the basis and rationale
for the work of the Commission
• Volume 2: addresses the commission of gross
violations of human rights on all sides of the
The Final Report of the TRC
• Volume 3: Addresses gross violations of
human rights from the perspective of the
victim, is a companion to Volume Two
• Volume 4: Seeks to address the nature of the
society in which gross violations of human
rights took place
• Volume 5: The final volume of the report,
contains the conclusions reached by the
Commission, including analyses and findings
and recommendations.
Remembering the past: memorials
Appropriate museums and memorials at Local
and National sites.
Use examples that learners can relate to.
Freedom Park
Activity 4.9: Assessment
• Refer to the sample essays in the Resource
• Read and assess according to the prescribed
rubric (p.41 CAPS document).
• Report Back and Discussion.
Thank you!