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Thabo Mbeki: Archbishop Desmond Tutu ’cannot be blamed for the shortcomings of the TRC’

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, during a public debate on the legacy of the TRC in Cape Town in 2006. Picture: Obed Zilwa

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, during a public debate on the legacy of the TRC in Cape Town in 2006. Picture: Obed Zilwa

Published Dec 27, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Since the announcement of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's passing, Social Media has been abuzz with many praising the fallen hero for his activism work against the engineers of the apartheid regime, the National Party.

As most of the world reminisce their personal encounters with the Arch, some social media users have expressed despondency with the news of his passing. The despondency seemingly stems from the perceived failure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that the Arch chaired.

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In response to this criticism, former president Thabo Mbeki said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu should not bear the responsibility of the shortcomings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“No, the Archbishop cannot be blamed for whatever the shortcomings were.”

“There might have been shortcomings in the design of the process, in which case we who designed it would then have to take responsibility for whatever blame,” Mbeki said.

Mbeki said the Archbishop and others who were part of the TRC did the best they could in the circumstance to help build the new South Africa.

“I do not think that the TRC fell short of what it was designed to achieve; there might have been wrong expectations out of it. The process of reconciliation is a remaining challenge for us, but that process of reconciliation could not be achieved merely through the TRC process,” Mbeki said.

“The eradication of the legacy of the apartheid and colonialism was not the task of the TRC; that was the task of the government post-1994,” he said.

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