Location of Repository

A critical-theoretic study of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission : with reference to the work of Jurgen Habermas

By Eugene Nicholas Isaac


By using the work of Jurgen Habermas as my central focus\ud the objective of this thesis was to judge whether the ideas that he has formulated in different bodies of work\ud illuminate the problems and prospects for sustained\ud democratic development in a country that has been \ud affected by the impact of a series of cumulative civilizing\ud offensives.I argue that the South African Truth and\ud Reconciliation Commission(TRC) must be judged in relation\ud to the outcomes that its commissioners attempted to promote.\ud \ud Following a reading of the works of Habermas I argue that it possible to specify the outcomes that would make it possible for the leaders of a new state to settle their\ud accounts with the violations of the past by paying the fullest settlement of damages. Through the use of a case\ud study methodology I was able to step outside of the realms\ud of pure theory by establishing how some of Habermass \ud ideas do enable us to acquire an understanding of the outcomes that the TRC was and was not able to influence.\ud \ud I use the ideas of Habermas in a critical way in order to judge the consequences of successive truth-telling \ud hearings and the settings in which they were constituted. My\ud methodology was also theoretic in so far as my goal was to establish whether it was possible to identify a characteristic or trait that differentiates a positive \ud and/or a full settlement of damages from a negative \ud and/or an empty settlement of damages.\ud \ud My analysis has demonstrated that the TRC was not able to establish an authoritative record of the perpetrators who committed violations during the mandate period. Therefore, the judgement that successive truth-telling processes made a decisive contribution to the revision of the country's political culture needs to be revised

Publisher: School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:589

Suggested articles



  1. (2003). (11) Books and Journal articles I used the following method to cite a source from a book: the author's Surname, Initials., (Year of Publication) Title. Place of publication:
  2. (1998). (I 998b) 'The Truth and Reconciliation Commission -A National Ritual'.
  3. (1995). (vii) Published transcripts of the Human Rights Violation Committee Hearings Case 00302.,
  4. (2002). (viii) Submissions of other parties to the TRC Varney, H.,
  5. (1997). (xiii) Transcript of the African National Congress (ANC) Political Party Recall Hearing TRC., (I 997c) 'Transcript of the African National Congress, Party Political Recall in Cape Town -
  6. (1997). (xiv) Transcript of the National Party (NP) Political Party Recall Hearing TRC., (I 997d) 'Transcript ofthe National Party, Party Political Recall in
  7. (2004). (xix) Recorded decisions of the Amnesty Committee TRC-,
  8. (1990). (xvi) Who's Who in South African Politics Gastrow, S., doi
  9. (1991). (xx) Demographic statistics Central Statistical Service.,
  10. 1) Shadow and Substance in South Africa: A Study in Land and Franchise Policies Affecting Africans, doi
  11. (2000). 1949 Geneva Convention I for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field'. In: Documents On Yhe Laws of Mar. Oxford: doi
  12. (2000). 1949 Geneva Convention II for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea'. In: Documents On 7he Laws of Mar. Oxford: doi
  13. (2000). 1949 Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War'. In: Documents On 77te Laws of War. Oxford:
  14. (2000). 1949 Geneva Convention IV Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War'. In: Documents On The Laws of War. Oxford: doi
  15. (1985). 71e Assault. Translated from the Dutch by Claire Nicolas White.
  16. (1994). 71e Past as Future. Interviewed by Michael Haller. Translated and edited by Max Pensky. Foreward by Peter Hohendahl.
  17. (1999). 77ze Arcades Project'.
  18. (1999). 7be Burden ofMemory, The Muse ofForgiveness.
  19. (1958). 7be Origins of Totalitarianism. London: Allen and Unwin.
  20. (1988). 7be Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and Gennan National Identity. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: doi
  21. (2001). 7he Graves Are Not Full Yet: Race, Tribe and Power in the Heart ofAfrica. doi
  22. (2000). A Country Unmasked. - Inside South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. doi
  23. (1988). A Kind of Settlement of Damages (Apologetic Tendencies)'. doi
  24. (1982). A Reply to my Critics'. doi
  25. (2000). A Theology of Community: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu'. doi
  26. (1977). A Window on Soweto. doi
  27. (2002). An Ordinary Country: Issues in the Transitionfrom Apartheid to Democracy in South Africa.
  28. (1989). Anamnetische Vernunft: Amnerkungen eines Theologen zur Krise der Heisteswissenschaften.
  29. (1997). and 7 use quotations from the transcripts of the Political Party hearings. I decided to cite a quotation from these sources by using a third abbreviated method: the author of the source (i. e. the TRQ, the date of the hearing (i. e.
  30. (1993). Armed and Dangerous: My Undercover Struggle Against Apartheid. doi
  31. (1985). Armed Forces and Modern Counter-Insurgency. Beckenham: Croom Helm Ltd.
  32. (2002). Armed Struggle and Democracy: The Case ofSouth Africa'. Available from: Nordic Africa Institute (Goteborg: Nordiska Africaininstitutet and Elanders Digitaltryck AB).
  33. (1996). Articles of Faith'.
  34. (1992). Autonomy and Solidarity. Edited and Introduced by Peter Dews.
  35. (2005). Available from: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation website.
  36. Available from: the website of African
  37. Available from: the website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
  38. (1999). Baruch Hirson: Marxist teacher jailed for his part in South Africa's freedom struggle.
  39. (1987). Beggar Your Neighbours: Apartheid Power in Southern Africa. London: Catholic Institute for International Relations in association with London: doi
  40. (2000). Bestiality and Humanity: A War on the Border between Law and Morality'. In: doi
  41. (1983). Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis. doi
  42. (1994). Black Sash'
  43. (2004). Bridging Oblivion with Remembrance: The Good Memory of Marcelo Brodsky.
  44. (1979). Burgher's Daughter.
  45. (2003). California.: University of California Press. http: //ark. cdlib. org: /l 3030/flIZ9n7g7 [Accessed 1"
  46. (2003). California.: University of California Press. http: //ark. cdlib. org: /l 3030/ftIZ9n7jz7/ [Accessed I't
  47. (2003). Calm Before the Storm: The History of Jews
  48. (2003). Can one live after Auschwitz? A Philosophical Reader. Stanford:
  49. (1997). Charter of the United Nations'. In: International Instruments of the United Nations. doi
  50. (2005). Citing References - The Harvard System'. PDF [Online]. Available from: http: //-, v%vw. boumemouth. ac. uk/academic services/documents/LibraLiL/Citing eferences.
  51. (1993). Commission of Enquiry of a Political Party ANC. Commission of Enquiry into Certain Allegations of Cruelty and Human Rights Abuse against ANC Prisoners and Detainees by ANC Members
  52. (1988). Concerning the Public Use of History'. doi
  53. (1995). Conintunication and the Evolution ofSociety.
  54. (1998). Considering Truth. Dealing with a Legacy of Gross Human Rights Violations'. Netherlands Quarterly ofHuman Rights.
  55. (1999). Critical Theory'. In: doi
  56. (1986). Critique, Nonn and Utopia: A Study of the Foundations of Critical 77ieory.
  57. (2002). Cuba in Africa: Review of Piero Glesijeses 'Conflicting Missions: I lavana,
  58. (1984). Definition of Aggression. In: United Nations Resolutions. Series I, Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly. Dobbs Ferry, doi
  59. (1999). Democracy Real and Ideal: Discourse Ethics and Radical Politics. doi
  60. (1995). Demographic Statistics'. Pretoria: Central Statistical Service.
  61. (1997). Directing his comments at the TRC's Chairperson, Mr Mbeki declared that 'there are some other people behind me, that we might depending on how difficult the questions are .. move to the front' (TRC,
  62. (1987). Draft Articles On State Responsibility Adopted by The International Law Commission On First Reading'. In: The United Nations Codification OfState Responsibility. doi
  63. (1990). Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza' in no's no in South African Politics.
  64. (1990). Durkheimian Sociology: cultural studies. Cambridge: doi
  65. (1987). Eine Art Schadenssabwicklung: Kleine Poltische Schriften VI Frankfurt a/M:
  66. (2003). Esther Levitan; Taking on Apartheid with Chutzpah'.
  67. (1998). Evil has a human face.
  68. (2005). Experiments with Truth and Justice in South Africa: Stockenstrom, Gandhi and the TRC'. doi
  69. (2005). Front Oslo to Iraq and the Roadmap. Foreword by Tony Judt. Afterward by Wadie
  70. (2000). Geneva Protocol I Additional to the Geneva
  71. (2000). Geneva Protocol II Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 doi
  72. (2001). Habermas: A Critical Reader. London: Basil Blackwell Pigou, P., (200 1) 'The apartheid state and violence: what has the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found? '. doi
  73. (1994). Habermas. A Critical Introduction. doi
  74. (2005). Harvard style bibliographies and references'. Page [online]. Available from: http:
  75. (1992). Helen Joseph, 87, Foe of Apartheid, Is Dead.
  76. (1988). Historical Consciousness and Post-Traditional Identity: Remarks on the Federal Republic's Orientation to the West'. doi
  77. (1999). Historicizing Power and Responses to Power: Indirect Rule and Its Reform.
  78. (1993). Homesickness. A Review of Peter Pulzer's 'Jews and the German State' and Ruth Gay's 'The Jews of Gennany; A Historical Perspective'.
  79. (1978). Human Rights and the South African Legal Order. doi
  80. (1995). Humanitarian Juggernaut. 22 nd
  81. (1998). Ile Truth About Dictatorship'. New York Review ofBooks,
  82. (2004). Index of ANC Documents'. doi
  83. (1990). Inside Quadro: End ofan Era. (first published in published
  84. (1997). International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid'. In: International Instruments ofthe United Nations.
  85. (1978). International Defence & Aid Fund in Cooperation with the United Nations Centre Against Apartheid.,
  86. (2001). Jakaranda Time: an investigator's view ofSouth Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Photographs by George Hallet.
  87. (2004). Jingoes'. London Review ofBooks,
  88. (1949). Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the trial of major German War Criminals (with the dissenting opinion of the Soviet Member). 30th September and I't October,
  89. (1947). Judgments of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal Judgment.,
  90. (1995). legislation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) Act No.
  91. (1997). Legitimation Crisis.
  92. (1997). Legitimation Crisis. Cambridge: Polity. I used the following method to cite an argument from a journal article: the author's Surname,
  93. (1962). Let My People Go: An Autobiography, London & doi
  94. (1994). llabennas, modernity and law: a bibliography'.
  95. (1993). London Review of Books,
  96. (1986). Mabangalala: The Rise ofRight- Wing Vigilantes in South Africa. doi
  97. (1999). Machiavelli and Us. Translated with an introduction by Gregory Elliott. doi
  98. (1990). Malan, Ný(nand Charl'. In No's Who In South African Politics. Edlted by Shelagh Gastrow. 3' revised edition.
  99. (1995). Manufacturing Legitimacy: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Rule of Law'.
  100. (1995). Mapping Habermas: A Bibliography of Primary Literature 1952-1995'. Available from:
  101. (1994). Mbokodo: Security in ANC Camps,
  102. Me Execution of a Camp Commander'. Available from: the website of the Mail and Guardian.
  103. (1982). Memoryfor Forgetfulness.
  104. (1982). Memoryfor Forgeyiulness.
  105. (2004). Mugabe's ties to the Architect of Apartheid'. Guardian. I Ilh
  106. (1990). Negative Dialectics (translated by E. B. Ashton) London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. doi
  107. (1994). Negotiated Elections in South Africa'. Review ofAfrican Political
  108. (1994). Negotiating a Democratic South Africa: Bilateral and Multiparty Negotiations,
  109. (1997). NIA man 'tortured' Chief Seremane'. Available from:
  110. (1999). No Future Without Forgiveness.
  111. (1995). No joy to ue'Bonn told'.
  112. (1993). Notes to Literature, Vols I-II, by Theodor Adorno'. London Review of Books.
  113. (1985). Observations on 'The Spiritual Situation of the Age: Contemporary German Perspectives. doi
  114. (1997). On Historical Consciousness'. Current Anthropology. doi
  115. (1997). On the Public Use of History: Why a "Democracy Prize" for Daniel Goldhagen? '
  116. (2000). Ordinary Spectacles: A review of Lynch and Bogen, The Spectacle of History: Speech, Text and Memory at the Iran-Contra Hearings'. Human Studies, doi
  117. (1989). Out ofStep: War Resistance in South Africa.
  118. (2001). Outlines of a Topography of Cruelty: Citizenship and Civility in the Era of Global Violence'. doi
  119. (1997). Panel Beating for the Smashed Nation? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Nation Building and the Construction of a Privileged History in South Africa'.
  120. (2003). Past Master -A Profile of Jaan Kross'.
  121. (1999). Perpetrator Findings as Artificial Even-Handedness? The TRC's Contested Judgements of Moral and Political Accountability for Gross human Rights Violations'.
  122. (2002). Peter Mokaba.
  123. (2002). Place of Publication: Publisher. Report Number (where relevant). Bibliographic Entries (1) Bibliographies Avruch,
  124. (1990). Post-Marxist Alternatives: 7he Construction ofSocial Orders. Basingstoke and London:
  125. (1995). Postinetaphysical Thinking: Philosophical Essays. Translated by William Mark Hohengarten. Cambridge: Polity Press. 11abermas, J., (I 997a) 7he Theory of Communicative Action: Volume 1, Reason and The Rationalization ofSociety. Cambridge and Oxford:
  126. (1996). Power Politics in the New South Africa'. doi
  127. (1999). Protocol I (Additional to the Geneva
  128. (1998). R'ho paysfor Peace? Implications of the negotiated settlementfor reconciliation, transformation and violence in a post-apartheid South Africa'. Available from: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation website.
  129. (1985). Racism, Responsibility, and Reparation: South Africa, Germany, and Australia'. doi
  130. (2002). Ramashala, Prof Mapule Frances'.
  131. (2004). Rare birds of the islands'.
  132. (1989). Reading the Silences: Afrikaner Literature and the Transformation of the South African Society'. Southern African Review ofBooks,
  133. (1989). Reappraisal of Habermas's 'Ibeory of Communicative Action in light of detailed investigations of social praxis'. doi
  134. (1996). Reconciliation Through Truth: A Reckoning ofApartheid's Criminal Governance. doi
  135. (1997). Reconciliation without Justice'.
  136. (1996). Reconciliation without Justice'. South African Review ofBooks,
  137. (1998). Reflecting on the Relationship between Transformation, Reconciliation and Socio-economic Change in South Africa: an interview in Medico International'. Available from: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation website.
  138. (2001). Reflections on Communicative Pathology'. In: On the Pragmatics ofSocial Interaction: Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action. Translated by Barbara Fultner. doi
  139. (1996). reports of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC., doi
  140. (1984). Resolutions and Protocols of the United
  141. (2000). Restoring Decency to Barbaric Societies'. In:
  142. (1993). Rethinking Critical Theory: Emancipation in the Age of Global Social Movements. London: doi
  143. (2001). Review of 'On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction: Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action'. doi
  144. (1999). Review of "The Truth about the Truth Commission" by Anthea Jeffrey'. Southern Africa Review ofBooks.
  145. Review ofBooks,
  146. (2004). Review: The Politics of Memory: Truth, Healing and Social Justice. Edited by
  147. (2004). Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African soldier. doi
  148. (1997). Second Submission Of The National Party To The Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Available from: the website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
  149. (1997). Second Submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission'. Available from:
  150. (1999). Select Bibliography'. doi
  151. (1995). Silencing the Past: Power and the Production offfistory. doi
  152. (1974). Sixties Going on Seventies.
  153. (2002). South Africa's transition to democracy and the 'change industry: a case study of IDASA'. doi
  154. (2004). South African
  155. (1998). South African Yearbook doi
  156. (2003). Sparks in the Township.
  157. (2005). Spectrum: from right to left in the world of ideas. doi
  158. (2004). States don't really mind their citizens dying (provided they don't all do it at once): they just don't like anyone else to kill them'. London Review ofBooks, 16'h of December 2004,26,24,3-7. Bundy, C., (200 1) 'The Beast of the Past: History and the TRC'-
  159. (1984). Studies in Ethnoinelhodology.
  160. (1996). Submissions of the African National Congress (ANC) to the TRC ANC.,
  161. (1996). Submissions of the National Party (NP) to the TRC National Party., (21"
  162. (2000). Survey Article: Justifying the Truth and Reconciliation Commission'. doi
  163. (1976). Systematically Distorted Communication'. In: doi
  164. (2004). Tasser Arafat'. Obituary. The Guardian.
  165. (1996). Testimony ofBayeni Annie Silinda to the Human Rights Violation Committee at Nelspruit on the 2 nd ofSeptember 1996'. Available from: the website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
  166. (1996). Testimony ofJohannes Frederick Van Eck to the Human Rights Violation Committee at Nelspruit on the Y'd ofSeptember 1996' , Available from: the website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
  167. (2000). The Bang Bang Club: Snapshots From A Hidden War. New York: Basic Books. doi
  168. (1999). The Barbarism of Civilisation: Cultural Genocide and the Stolen Generations'. doi
  169. (1957). The Bible. Cambridge:
  170. (2003). The Cambodia Obsession. Review of Francois Bizot's The Gate'.
  171. (1987). The Civilising Offensive: Mentalities, High Culture and Individual Psyches. doi
  172. (1984). The Critical Theory ofJargen Habemas.
  173. (2005). The Dark Side ofDemocracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge: doi
  174. (1976). The Dialectic ofIdeology and Technology: ne Origins, Grammar and Future ofIdeology. London and Basingstoke:
  175. (1988). The Drowned and the Saved. Translated by Raymond Rosenthal. Introduction by Paul Bailey.
  176. (1989). The Germans.
  177. (1966). The Jail Diary qfAlbie Sachs.
  178. (2003). The Lion and the Springbok. ý Britain and South Africa Since the Boer Mar. Cambridge: doi
  179. (1989). The New Conservatism: Cultural Criticism and the Historians Debate Cambridge, doi
  180. (1996). The People's Policeman: Chief of Special Investigations for the Truth Commission. Lwandle Magadhla has been praised as a wonderful policeman and derided as a political appointee. DIA went after the facts'.
  181. (2002). The Pity ofIt AIL
  182. (1999). The Politics of Memory and Forgetting after Auschwitz and Apartheid'. doi
  183. (2003). The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission doi
  184. (1996). The Spectacle offfistory: speech, text and memory at the Iran-Contra hearings. doi
  185. (1999). The TRC Report: What Kind of History? What Kind of Truth.? A preliminary exploration'.
  186. (2000). The Truth According to the TRC. doi
  187. (1988). The Utopian Function ofArt and Literature: Selected Essays. Translated by Jack Zipes and Frank Mecklenburg.
  188. (1998). This essay was previously published with the title 'Learning by Disaster: A Diagnostic Look Back on the Short 20th Century' in Constellations, doi
  189. (2002). Tie debate on truth and reconciliation: A survey of literature on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission'. doi
  190. (1995). Tirgen Habermas: A Bibliography'. In:
  191. (1972). Towards a Theory of Communicative Competence'. doi
  192. (1985). Towards the Reconstruction of South Africa'. doi
  193. (1997). TRC pre-empts opposition by going to court on ANC amnesty.
  194. (2000). Truth and Reconciliation: The South African Experience'. doi
  195. (1999). Truth and Reconciliation'. SMULaw Review,
  196. (1997). Truth Commissions: A Comparative Assessment. Cambridge, Massachusetts: World Peace Foundation and Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program.
  197. (1990). Tutu, Desmond Mpilo Tutu' in no's no in South African Politics.
  198. (2003). Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth. doi
  199. (1999). Universalism and the Situated Critic. ' doi
  200. (2003). Using Social Theory: Thinking Through Research. London: Sage Publications Ltd (in association with the
  201. (1961). Vie Long Revolution.
  202. (1994). War and Law Since doi
  203. (2002). War and Peace in the 2Wh Century'. London Review ofBooks,
  204. (1999). White Identity in Context: A Personal Narrative'. In:
  205. (1979). Why More Political Theory?. doi
  206. (2001). William Kentridge.
  207. (2003). With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide. doi
  208. (1999). Working in the Archives'. Yale French Studies. doi
  209. (1990). Wretched of the Earth. doi
  210. (1999). Yhe Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category ofBourgeois Society.
  211. (1974). Yheory and Practice.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.