The Right to Truth Project
SAHA has demonstrated a longstanding interest in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). For over a decade, much of SAHA’s archival practice and information activism, has been focused on making the work and records of, and surrounding, the South African TRC more readily accessible. SAHA draws on the recommendations made by the TRC itself to direct its work, particularly in relation to conducting ongoing truth recovery to uncover further evidence about unknown or unacknowledged aspects of South Africa’s past. This often takes place in the face of little state engagement in continuing the reconciliation agenda begun by the TRC. As of 2015, SAHA has launched a cross-programmatic pilot project, the Right to Truth (RTT) project, to consolidate this work.
SAHA welcomes new staff and kick starts new Right to Truth Project
RTT's first project for 2015 will be the processing of the recently-released TRC Section 29 records. The Section 29 hearings were closed hearings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), held under Section 29 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act (1995), known as the TRC Act. The closed hearings consisted of investigative enquiries, whereby those subpoenaed were under oath to divulge the full extent of their knowledge of gross human rights violations committed under the apartheid regime. SAHA obtained access to these documents through a PAIA request, and these records will be lodged in the Freedom of Information Programme's collection.
Read the full PAIA request here
Take a look at the released transcripts here
The Section 29 transcripts will also be integrated into the collaborative SABC/SAHA website, Truth Commission: Special Report. This website has digitised all the TRC's public hearings documents (making these transcripts fully searchable), and linked them with the SABC's landmark TV series that ran for two years alongside TRC proceedings. The Section 29 documents will further expand this rich archival resource.
Visit the SABC/SAHA Truth Commission: Special Report website here
SAHA is attempting to contact witnesses who interacted with the Section 29 investigative inquires, to inform them about the public release of these documents. SAHA is only able to rely on information currently in the public domain. If these transcripts refer to you or anyone you know, and are interested in engaging further with SAHA, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or +27(0)11 718 2560.
Catch up on RTT's news stories for 2015:
Crimes of our past back in the public eye
Mandela’s first year of freedom: his words from 1990
Memories serve lessons and lessons serve us with memories
TRC's secret hearing transcripts handed over to SAHA
SAHA releases the list of Section 29 hearings obtained under PAIA