ANC is accused of using torture

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The Independent Online
LEAKED DETAILS from the final report of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission suggest that the country's two main black liberation movements will be accused of committing "gross violations of human rights" during the anti-apartheid struggle.

The 17 member commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is not scheduled to release its 3,500 page final report until Thursday. Yesterday, however, the South African Broadcasting Corporation published details of confidential TRC documents accusing the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress of committing atrocities against civilians, members of the security forces and their own supporters.

According to the leaked reports, the ANC will be accused of "blurring" the lines between civilian and military targets in its bombing and land mine campaigns of the 1980s and of wrongly torturing and executing exiled supporters suspected of collaborating with the apartheid government.

The document is also said to charge the ANC with responsibility for the actions of its leader's former wife, Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. According to the SABC, the commission blames the ANC for failing to control Mrs Mandela and her "Mandela United" gang when they they were allegedly involved in a series of assaults, murders and disappearances in Soweto.

According to a second document leaked to the SABC, the smaller but more radical Pan Africanist Congress and its paramilitary wing, the Azanian People's Liberation Army, will be accused of torturing and killing suspected government agents in Tanzania and of mounting a deliberate murder campaign against white civilians and farmers.

The documents concede, however, that the "liberation movements" were engaged in a legitimate struggle against the apartheid system, which it described as a crime against humanity. It is believed that the leaked documents were copies of statutory notices sent by the commission to give the parties time to respond in advance of the final report's publication on Thursday. In recent weeks, at least 200 individuals and organisations received such warnings, including the former ruling National Party and South Africa's last white president, Mr FW de Klerk.

While most recipients of such notices have so far maintained their silence, yesterday lawyers representing the Nobel peace prize-winning Mr de Klerk said they were seeking an emergency injunction to prevent the commission from making "unfounded, adverse findings against him". While the lawyers declined to say what Mr de Klerk was accused of, weekend media reports centred on two bombings carried out by members of the apartheid secret police in the late Eighties, when de Klerk was still a middle-ranking minister.

Although de Klerk was not a member of the inner security cabinet when the attacks on a trade union headquarters and church building took place, the TRC accused him earlier this year of failing to act against those responsible when he learned about the affair after he became president in 1989.

Mr de Klerk is the first person to try and halt the report's publication, but other individuals and parties have already made it clear that they too will reject its findings - whatever they are. The main conservative white parties - the National Party, the Conservative Party and the Freedom Front - and the ANC's main black rival, the Inkatha Freedom Party, have long sought to portray the Truth Commission as a pro-ANC witch hunt.

The ANC has also criticised the Truth Commission in recent weeks following its receipt of notice that it and and several of its senior members are also likely to stand accused in the final report. Yesterday, however, spokesman Smarts Ngonyama refused to comment .

"We will not respond to the leaked information coming from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission until we get the final report on Thursday," Mr Ngonyama said.