The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Rev. James Buys at the Microphone

  • Pieter Gerhard J Meiring University of Pretoria
Keywords: Apartheid, James Buys, reconciliation, religion, Uniting Reformed Church (URCSA)., South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC))


On October 19, 1997, Rev. James Buys presented the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa’s submission to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He firstly reported on the extent to which URCSA, through its theology and activities, contributed to the violation of human rights during the years of apartheid, especially referring to the church’s stance on the notorious Group Areas Act, the government’s Labour Policy, the Mixed Marriages Act and the chaplain services. For all of this, a heartfelt apology was rendered. Buys, secondly, reported on the decisions and actions taken by URCSA during the 1970s and 1980s to resist apartheid, ranging from prophetic statements by individuals and synods, to eventually taking an active part in the struggle against apartheid. The role that the ecumenical community inside as well as outside South Africa had played to encourage and empower URCSA to define its message and actions, was also mentioned by Buys. Concluding his statement, Buys discussed URCSA’s recommendations for the process of reconciliation in South Africa. The author, who was present at the Faith Communities Hearing when Buys addressed the TRC, added a number of personal remarks pertaining to URCSA’s statement and to the role that URCSA is called to play on the road to reconciliation and nation-building in the country.

Author Biography

Pieter Gerhard J Meiring, University of Pretoria

Emeritus Professor

Department of Religion and Missiology

Faculty of Theology

University of Pretoria