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NPA 'owes' Apartheid victims more

Several former TRC officials say they want answers why people who weren't amnesty weren't prosecuted.

Advocate George Bizos says it is unfortunate that some prosecutions of those not granted amnesty by the TRC have taken so long.

JOHANNEBSURG - Advocate George Bizos, Father Michael Lapsly and several former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) officials have questioned why government failed to prosecute National Party agents denied amnesty by the commission.

The TRC finished its work over a decade ago, but there has been only one successful prosecution of someone who did not receive amnesty.

Questions have now been asked following the death of former Vlakplaas commander Dirk Coetzee last week.

Bizos said Apartheid victims and their families have been let down.

"The prosecuting authority really owes it to the people who had their loved ones killed that justice should be done."

Bizos said the situation was very disappointing.

"It was expected that those who were refused, in particular in high-profile cases, would be prosecuted and they were not."

He also said it made it even harder to bring prosecutions now due to various legal issues.

"Practically I think that it is an unfortunate closed chapter."

DELAYS COULD COST AUTHENTIC PROSECUTIONS

The Commission's evidence leader, Dumisa Ntsebeza, said the longer the delay, the harder it becomes to prosecute anyone.

He said "witnesses die" and "people's memories fade".

The evidence leader also said he thought there must be several things that prevented the prosecutions from happening.

"Some deals were arrived at between the two protagonists, the Nationalist Party and the ANC."

He has, however, expressed dismay at the prospect and said he hoped it was not so.

MODERN SOCIETY AFFECTED BY DELAY

Meanwhile, Father Lapsly, who lost his hands when opened a letter bomb sent to kill him, said this inaction had consequences for present day South African society.

"It also encourages a culture of impunity that people are not brought to account."

The cleric also said that old wounds were coming up in new ways in society.

'PROCESS LEFT UNFINISHED'

Officials who ran the TRC said the entire process has been left un-finished, because those denied amnesty were never prosecuted.

Charles Villa-Vicensio, who ran the commission's research department, said the commission made it clear that some people should be prosecuted.

The National Prosecuting Authority said it was still investigating some apartheid crimes and looking for apartheid victims.

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