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National Assembly

National Assembly approve TRNUC’S extension until December 2022 |15 September 2022

The National Assembly yesterday approved the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) Amendment Bill 2022, which provides for the extension of its mandate up until December 31.

The commission, which was established in 2019, was initially mandated to conduct its works over a three-year period, commencing on August 9, three months from the date of the appointment of the first commissioners on May 9, 2019.

Having heard 374 complaints, 361 of which are human rights violations taking place between the 1977 Coup and 1992, the commission in August presented the interim report to President Wavel Ramkalawan, and still have a number of determinations to make in its incomplete final report.

“The existing law gives the TRNUC a three-year mandate. It is supposed to therefore end on August 9, 2022. In fact, on August 9 this year, TRNUC met with the President, to handover its interim report, and in the meet members of the commission made it clear that with the volume of complaints which they received, the timeframe and resources at their disposition, it was not possible for them to complete their final report within the three-year timeframe prescribed by law,”.

“They indicated that if their contract can be prolonged for four months, until December 31, 2022 latest, this will permit them to complete their work, and to present their final report to government as the law states,” VP Afif stated during Tuesday’s sitting.

A total of 266 hearings was held by the commission, whereby they heard and gathered evidence from 1200 witnesses, complainants and suspects providing their account of events forming the basis of complaints.

The Bill makes amendments to two main clauses in the Parent law, namely, clause 11 and clause 14. Clause 11 removes the provision in the TRNUC Act which stipulates a three-month timeframe for the commission to complete its final report after hearing all complaints before them. Clause 14 stipulates that the mandate of the commission will come to an end when it presents its final report to the President, no later than December 31, 2022.

Should the report be completed before the extension date, their mandate will automatically come to an end.

The Bill further adds a provision, giving legal effect to all the actions and decisions of the commission during the extension period.

With the prolongation of the mandate, the commissioners’ contract will also be prolonged, to allow the commissioners and staff to work until the completion of the report.

“Government feels that this will allow for the important work to bring about reconciliation, truth and national unity through TRNUC, to complete its work, so that a final and complete report can be presented to the President, towards the end of the year,” VP Afif added.

Given the national importance of the commission, the majority of assembly members intervened and afforded their support for the extension, although some were doubtful that the commission has indeed achieved its objectives towards national unity and reconciliation. Others were also concerned as to reparations for victims of the human rights abuses.

Leader of government business, Bernard Georges, said the TRNUC was essential to trace back a chapter of the country’s history and to have a comprehensive report comprising all such details.

“It is essential that we give them the time and resources to be able to complete the report. The final chapter needs to be written. Firstly, we need to know the truth. Secondly we need to reconcile victims and perpetrators, and this applies to the whole population, so that thirdly, we can have national unity,” Hon. Georges strongly asserted.

The process has been instrumental in giving some form of closure, Hon. Georges pointed out, especially for those surviving family members who had for many years no clue on what really happened to their loved ones.

For his part, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Sebastien Pillay, asserted the need for victims to have redress, calling on government to also reveal how to make amends and provide redress to complainants and victims.

“Government needs to go back to the drawing board, and come up with a clear commitment, on its intentions regarding TRNUC, instead of just delaying the inevitable until the report is finalised,” Hon. Pillay stated.

In concluding the debates on the amendment, VP Afif said it is saddening that it appears as though only one political party in the National Assembly are willing to let the truth prevail, and to work towards reconciliation and national unity.

In relation to whether the commission will indeed complete its work during the extension, he affirmed that he is confident this is the case. With the approval of TRNUC’S budget for 2022, government had already made provisions for a full-year’s budget in the eventuality that they did not complete their work. The approved budget for the year was R15,997,000.

The Bill was approved by 23 votes in favour.


Laura Pillay


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