Former Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to initiate an inquiry into the suppression of some TRC cases.
The former commissioners led by Dumisa Ntsebenza and Yasmin Sooka want a commission of inquiry into the political interference that stopped the investigation of cases referred by the TRC to the National Prosecuting Authority.
Some of those cases include the deaths of anti-apartheid fighters such as the Cradock Four, Ahmed Timol and Nokuthula Simelane.
Former Truth & Reconciliation Commissioners Dumisa Ntsebenza and Yasmin Sooka wrote to the President requesting an investigation into the conduct of the National Prosecuting Authority’s decisions to not prosecute certain cases referred by the TRC.
The letter is written on behalf of and endorsed by 10 former commissioners including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Further endorsements include those from the families of the victims, the South African History Archives and the Legal Resource Centre.
Sooka says the allegations that political interference was at play must be investigated especially since there are affidavits from two former senior NPA officials including former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli – which allege that political pressure stopped them from going ahead with the prosecution of the TRC cases.
TRC’s Yasmin Sooka says, “I think the first time we got a hint that something was wrong was when we filed papers in the Nokuthula Simelane matter where we were able to obtain affidavit from Vusi Pikoli and Anton Ackerman in which they allege that when they had tried to prosecute these matters – there had been political interference. More recently in the matter of the Timol case there’s an affidavit of one of the prosecutors Chris McAdams who says he didn’t receive any support and was told he shouldn’t be dealing with those cases.”
For the former Commissioners – the inquiry will help the families of the victims in moving closer to receiving justice for their loved ones. Leaving the matters as cold cases also denies them closure…
“What we are looking at is justice for the victims who really sacrificed their lives to see the new South Africa come to being. Instead of the NPA working fearlessly to protect the rights of victims they in fact were willing to be captured and not proceed with doing the right thing. And that is why we are saying there needs to be a formal inquiry to look into this form of state capture,” Sooka argued.
One of the families who also endorsed the letter is Lukhanyo Calata, son of Fort Calata – one of the Cradock Four. He says he is hoping that the President will at least engage them on the request.
“Obviously, we’re hopeful that the President will act in the interests in the best interests of the family with regards to the letter. We are not sure how the President will respond but we are hopeful that the President will at least hear us out.”
The office of the Presidency says it has yet to receive the letter and therefore President Ramaphosa cannot comment as yet. The National Prosecuting Authority says it will not be commenting on the request letter by the former commissioners to the President. Pikoli was not available for comment.