ACCORD hosts South Sudan delegation in South Africa for an experience sharing tour

Katharine Bebington

South Sudan in the process of formulating its commission for truth, reconciliation and healing

From 27 November to 3 December 2022, ACCORD, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a high-level delegation from the Government of South Sudan.  The delegation travelled to South Africa to learn more about South Africa’s experience with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and transitional justice.

Mr Reuben Madol Arol Kachoul, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in South Sudan and Ms Ayaa Benjamin Warille, the South Sudan Minister of Gender and Social Welfare led the delegation which included high-ranking officials in the South Sudan government tasked with issues of transitional justice as well as the establishment of South Sudan’s Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing.

The delegation began their experience-sharing visit in Pretoria and Johannesburg, where they met with former TRC Commissioners, civil society organisations and church leaders who all shared their perspectives and experiences of the formation, execution and legacy of the TRC in South Africa.  These included Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, ACCORD’s Senior Political Advisor; Dr Marjorie Jobson, National Director of the Khulumani Support Group; Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, the Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches; Advocate Vusi Pikoli, the Former Head of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority; Dr Fazel Randera, a former TRC Commissioner and; Mr Hanif Vally and his colleagues from the Foundation for Human Rights. Minister Madol paid a courtesy call to his South African counterpart, Mr Ronald Lamola, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.  Ministers Madol and Warille also paid a courtesy call to the Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Mandisa Maya.

The delegation then travelled to Cape Town, where they had an engagement with members of the upper house of South Africa’s parliament, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).  The delegation representing the South African Members of Parliament was led by the Chairperson of the NCOP, Honourable Amos Masondo.  Following the meetings with the NCOP, the delegation met with various civil society organisations, the Institute for the Healing of Memory and the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office; Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio Emeritus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town; Mary Burton, a former TRC Commissioner, as well as South African lawyer, activist, writer, and former judge appointed to the first Constitutional Court of South Africa, Judge Albie Sachs.

This experience-sharing visit enabled the South Sudanese delegation to broaden their understanding and perspectives of the processes involved in the establishment of the TRC, the operational aspects and its legacy.  The delegation left with a further insight on where the TRC succeeded as well as aspects of the TRC that could have been stronger.  ACCORD will continue to support the South Sudanese during their peace process.

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Katharine Bebington