‘We are fast-tracking TRC cases’, says Lamola

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola said they were investigating TRC cases. Picture: Supplied

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola said they were investigating TRC cases. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 18, 2024


Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola says specialised teams have been established to prosecute apartheid-era crimes from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Lamola said they have prioritised these cases and they even appointed prosecutors and investigators to pay attention to these cases.

From the work they have been doing since 2019, they identified cases that needed to be fast-tracked through the criminal justice system and this was based on the age of the case, the ages of suspects and witnesses and the availability of records.

Lamola said TRC cases remained a priority for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and that was why there was a unit in the NPA that was dealing with these cases.

The TRC matters were in the public domain three weeks ago when former president Thabo Mbeki denied that he had blocked any investigation into these cases.

This was after former TRC commissioner advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC gave a damning report that there has been a delay in prosecuting matters from the TRC.

Ntsebeza called for an independent inquiry.

But Lamola said they are fast-tracking investigations and prosecutions into apartheid-era crimes.

This was after Good Party member of Parliament Brett Herron asked Lamola in a written question in Parliament. In his written reply, Lamola said they have a team that has been tasked to investigate and prosecute apartheid-era crimes.

“As to measures, checks and balances, TRC matters have since September 2021 been prioritised within the NPA, resulting in the creation of a separate TRC component, within the office of the Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Rodney de Kock,” said Lamola.

“Dedicated prosecutors and investigators were appointed within the divisions to specifically deal with TRC matters to expedite investigations and decisions. Deviation was obtained from the Department of Public Service and Administration for prosecutors to be appointed on a contract basis for a period of three years.”

After the division was set up, it took all the TRC cases and started to look at those that still needed to be investigated and prosecuted.

New matters were referred to the Hawks who would investigate them.

“Certain matters were identified for fast-tracking. Factors considered were age of the matter, age of witnesses/persons of interest and availability of dockets or inquest records,” said Lamola.

There were regular reports that are submitted on progress made on the investigations.

The NPA and Hawks were closely working together to ensure that they tighten loopholes and speed up prosecutions.

Lamola added that they were in contact with families of the victims, They have also roped in other departments where they discuss these cases.

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