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‘Zuma is the elephant in the room, he must go’

The TRC’s Alex Boraine says he sees no realistic shift happening with Jacob Zuma at the helm.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The vice chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission(TRC) says South Africa is worse off under President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking to Eyewitness News on the 20th anniversary of the first hearings of the TRC, Alex Boraine said Zuma must go.

Boraine was one of the main architects of South Africa's TRC, serving under chairman Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu from 1996 to 1998.

"The elephant in the room is Zuma and until such time as he goes, I can't see any realistic shift from where we are now. Is it possible for the ship of state to be turned around?"

ISTEN: TRC podcast series: What is the state of reconciliation in SA?

'GENUINE RECONCILIATION MAY ELUDE SOUTH AFRICA'

At the same time, Boraine believes South Africans are paying a heavy price for government's decision to largely ignore the TRC's recommendations.

He warns genuine reconciliation may elude South Africa, as the country lacks both economic justice and efficient service delivery.

Boraine was one of several former commissioners asked to assess the state of reconciliation two decades after the TRC held its first human rights violations hearing.

He says the depth and breadth of poverty in the country cannot be sustained without risking more violence.

He acknowledges while the massive rollout of social grants and public spending on education has been a "mercy to millions", it is not enough.

The quality of public education remains uneven and, in poorer areas, inferior. This threatens the future.

"I think the way the economy is going; these grants aren't going to be sustainable. If you start removing those grants then, I think, the situation becomes more volatile."

He and other commissioners say government has largely disregarded the TRC's recommendations. As a result, South African and its people are paying a heavy price.

He adds that ignoring key recommendations has left some victims resentful.

"The recommendations we made were largely ignored by the state. Our main stress was that reconciliation was not about words but action."

LISTEN: The full History for the Future special feature podcasts

Click here to view History for the Future, a special feature to commemorate 20 years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.

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