South African TRC will help in a tailor-made solution - MP Sajin De
The following is a brief email interview we held with External
Affairs Monitoring MP Sajin De Vaas Gunewardena while he was in South
Africa as a member of the Sri Lankan delegation studying that country's
much acclaimed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) last week to
gain experience to strengthen Sri Lanka's reconciliation efforts.
Sajin De Vaas Gunewardena
Q: Could you explain your mission in South Africa? What are
the important meetings and events that were lined up?
A:We were in South Africa to initiate a process to study the
TRC of South Africa. The delegation comprised Ministers Nimal Siripala
de Silva and Douglas Devananda, Deputy Minister Faiszer Mustapha, Arun
Thambimuttu and myself.
Q:What can you say about the appointment of Cyril Ramphosa as
the Special Envoy to Sri Lanka by South African President Jacob Zuma?
Cyril Ramaphosa is the Deputy President of the ANC. He is a very
senior personality in the ANC and also in the overall political
apparatus in South Africa. His appointment to liaise with Sri Lanka in
this respect signifies the importance placed on the matter and also the
importance of the relationship that exists between the two Presidents,
President Rajapaksa and President Zuma and the two countries.
Q: What will you bring back home?
Knowledge and experience.
Q: Some criticise your move based on the argument that we need
a home- grown solution for our woes and that we cannot import solutions
from other countries? (Especially considering the conditions in South
Africa and Sri Lanka which are worlds apart)
I agree with that. We always believe that a home- grown solutions are
the best solutions one can find. However, to formulate such home- grown
solutions, we need to share and learn experiences from other similar
situations so that at the end of the process we would have an almost
perfect formula tailor-made for Sri Lanka. On the South African TRC one
cannot say that it is totally irrelevant. There are many factors where
we can draw reference from. It is a process and not something that you
can achieve overnight.
Q: The President and SA leader discussed sharing experiences
of SA's Truth Commission for our reconciliation, during CHOGM in
November why did it take a long time to send an official delegation from
SL to SA to follow it up?
The passing away of the later President Mandela and the activities
related was the reason why new dates had to be agreed upon. We are
thankful to the South African President and Government for providing us
the opportunity to initiate the first discussions last week.
Q: How would you respond to allegations that this move is a
strategy to appease Geneva?
Have you seen us doing things to appease Geneva ? If we want to
appease Geneva then we would not be facing resolution after resolution
and perhaps we would not also have a country left, Libya, Egypt, Syria,
Tunisia and now Ukraine who's next ????