'SA needs group to monitor reconciliation'

Former TRC commissioner Hlengiwe Mkhize says much of SA's struggle’s history has been forgotten.

FILE: Hlengiwe Mkhize. Picture: GovernmentZA via Flickr.

CAPE TOWN - Former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) commissioner Hlengiwe Mkhize says South Africa needs an independent and respected body to monitor the state of reconciliation.

Mkhize, who is now the deputy minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, is one of 13 former commissioners who spoke to Eyewitness News about the state of reconciliation in the country, two decades after the TRC held its first human rights violations hearing.

She says a body that can monitor the state of reconciliation would be able to reflect more deeply on the issues of reconciliation today, including a culture of human rights and the need for economic transformation.

Mkhize says 17 years after the TRC completed its work, it seems much of the history of the anti-apartheid struggle has been forgotten.

Referring to recent protests at universities, she says the younger generations have overlooked heroic figures such as Afrikaner cleric Beyers Naudé, who turned his back on power to support the oppressed.

"They need to hear how people can use positions of privilege to create a healthier environment for all."

She said issues are discussed in a divisive way today to push people apart, instead of bringing citizens together.

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