Ntsebeza SC’s appointment welcomed, but more hands needed to resolve TRC matters

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza

Published Jan 16, 2023


Cape Town - While families of apartheid victims have welcomed the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) appointment of Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC to review its performance with respect to the prosecution of long-outstanding Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) matters, they feel more than one person should have been assigned to such a mammoth task.

The NPA said it had taken an important step to further enhance its efforts to deal with and prosecute cases stemming from the TRC.

“Over the last couple of years, the NPA has focused on reopening and pursuing priority cases, and enhancing its internal capacity, land processes both to ensure effective handling of these cases and to prevent any undue political influence.

“64 new cases have been registered for investigation, 25 prosecutors and 40 investigators have been appointed within the various divisions to deal specifically with TRC matters.”

“As part of this effort, the NPA has appointed Adv D Ntsebeza SC to review the measures that have been adopted to deal with and prosecute TRC matters and to provide recommendations as needed.

This is in line with the remarks made... in the South Gauteng High Court in 2019 where the court held: ‘...that the conduct of the relevant officials and others outside the NPA at the time should be brought to the attention of the National Director of Public Prosecutions for her consideration and in particular, to consider whether any action in terms of Section 41(1) of the NPA Act is warranted’.

“Finally, there must be a public assurance from both the Executive and the NPA that the kind of political interference that occurred in the TRC cases will never occur again,” the NPA said in a statement.

After 52 years, a new inquest was opened last year to uncover the truth behind the death of apartheid icon Imam Abdullah Haron, in police custody.

Imam Haron Foundation chairperson and the son of the late cleric, Prof. Muhammed Haron said: “It is good to hear about (Ntsebeza’s) appointment.

It is also wonderful to know that he will do a review of NPAs work related to TRC matters.

“The question is why so late? This should have been done a few years back.

“Even though quite late, it needs to be done so that all of us have an idea who is exactly responsible for having caused the delay: if politicians who tried to cover their backs for having been complicit then that should be publicised and groups/ individuals should be brought to book.”

The foundation said while they have faith in Ntsebeza, there should have been a team of three to have undertaken this important task.

The Apartheid Era Victims’ Families Group (AVFG) also welcomed Ntsebeza’s appointment.

The group noted that giving one person such a task to complete within three months may be a challenge.

“A team of three should have been given this responsibility, while the period could be extended from three months to at least five months, so that a reasonably balanced report be handed in.

“The AVFG also notes that there have been a number of assertions towards political interference against the proper investigation of these cases, and therefore, the group would have preferred an open inquiry into the political interference,” the families collectively added.

They said they were ready to assist Ntsebeza in any capacity to help get to the truth about who ordered that TRC cases never be investigated and why.

GOOD Party secretary-general and MP, Brett Herron added: “For nearly 20 years, no cases were investigated.

Many of the ghastliest perpetrators have since died. The State’s failure to follow through on the TRC matters is a betrayal of post-apartheid morality.

Victims’ families have been marooned without closure or any sense of justice.”

Cape Times