Rev Bongani Finca is a Presbyterian minister who spent his early years working in the pastoral ministry. he has devoted his life to democracy and social justice and led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Eastern Cape.
He is currently a Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission and heads its East London office.
In this episode of History for the Future, the former TRC commissioner talks to journalist Pippa Green about some of the shortcomings of the TRC
Those who were perpetrators, how easy it became for them, because all that was required was that they should just disclose what had happened, and it must be politically motivated, and it must be within the period, and must disclose the full truth.— Rev Bongani Finca, former TRC commissioner
Once these criteria were met, he says, there was no prescription that they needed to be remorseful. They would receive amnesty.
Finca says at the end of the day, perpetrators crimes were expunged from the record and they were able to start with a clean slate. For the victims however, the requirements for receiving any benefits for their pain and suffering, was far more complex.
The policy on reparations was prepared and submitted to the president, and of course the matter then got out of our hands.— Rev Bongani Finca, former TRC commissioner
Reverend Finca says, for a long period of time, whenever they met with victims, they were told that no compensation had been received for loved ones lost. These people who had been traumatised answering questions at the TRC, felt they had nothing to show for it.
Listen to this latest episode below, and go to History for the Future to listen to other episodes in the series by veteran journalist Pippa Green, as she interviews 13 former TRC commissioners about the work they did and the impact on South Africa today.