15 January 2010

PRESS STATEMENT: SAHA receives De Kock's TRC amnesty application


RE: Eugene De Kock's Truth and Reconciliation Commission amnesty application, provided to SAHA through the use of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA).

15 January 2010

After some difficulty, and a time-consuming internal appeal process, the South African History Archive (SAHA) has been granted access to a copy of Eugene De Kock's amnesty application to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, in terms of PAIA. Not only is this a valuable addition to SAHA's extensive Freedom of Information Programme Collection, but it is also an indication of an increasingly transparent and informative relationship with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

SAHA seeks to participate in contemporary struggles for justice through the raising of awareness. Accordingly, it is believed that access to this application will inform current debates around the more recent process of the ‘Special dispensation for Presidential pardons for political offences', which is currently being considered by the Constitutional Court in Albutt v The Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Others (wherein SAHA served as the Fifth Respondent).

The De Kock amnesty application serves as an illustration of the immense amount of openness and information which can be provided by perpetrators in a correctly facilitated pardons process. SAHA also believes that the kind of detail provided in the De Kock application reiterates the necessity for victim participation in pardon's cases, as a greater ‘knowing' will assist victims in their healing process. This was a fundamental argument too in civil societies' successful case against the President's ‘Special dispensation', and the core reasoning by which Judge Seriti of the North Gauteng High Court interdicted the President from continuing the special pardons process until such time as victims' rights had been properly considered.

Access to this kind of information, which reasserts the value of the correct implementation of the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000, should be used to inform current debates circulating around pardons processes in general, but also to particularly inform the debate centred on Mr De Kock's application for a pardon in terms of the ‘Special dispensation'.

Mr Eugene De Kock amnesty application is now available as of 15 January 2010 to the public at SAHA's archives and viewings of these documents can be arranged by emailing archives@saha.org.za.

The five volumes making up this application are available for viewing at SAHA.

On behalf of:
The South African History Archive
Catherine Kennedy (Acting Director)
+2711 717 1973

For further information contact:
Gabriella Razzano
Freedom of Information Programme
+2711 717 1941

For access to the documents contact: