Dispute Resolution Committee: Interim Constitution Accord

National Peace Agreement, Chapters 1, Article 1:

1.10. Since insufficient instruments exist to actively prevent violence and intimidation and regional and local levels, it is agreed that committees be appointed at regional and local levels to assist in this regard. Peace bodies are therefore to be established at both regional and local levels to be styled "Regional Dispute Resolution Committees" (RDRC) and "Local Dispute Resolution Committees" (LDRC) respectively. These bodies will be guided and co-ordinated at a national level by a National Peace Secretariat. At the local level the bodies will be assisted by Justices of the Peace.

1.11. The Preparatory Committee has played a crucial role in the process of bringing the major actors together to negotiate a Peace Accord. There is still much to be done to implement the Accord and establish the institutions of peace. To assist in this regard, a National Peace Committee shall be established.

National Peace Agreement, Chapter 7, National Peace Secretariat, Regional And Local Dispute Resolution Committees:

7.1. It is clear from the aforegoing that sufficient instruments exist to investigate violence and intimidation and to bring the perpetrators thereof to book. Insufficient instruments exist however to actively combat violence and intimidation at grassroots level. It is therefore proposed that committees be appointed at regional and local levels to assist in this regard. These committees will require national co-ordination.

7.2 In order to provide management skills, budgetary commitment and statutory empowerment and sanction, State involvement is essential.

7.3 A National Peace Secretariat

7.3.1 A National Peace Secretariat shall be established, comprising at least four persons nominated by the National Peace Committee and one representative of the Department of Justice. Further members, up to a maximum of four, may also be appointed.

7.3.2 The function of the National Peace Secretariat will be to establish and co-ordinate the Regional Dispute Resolution Committees and the Local Dispute Resolution Committees.

7.3.3 The National Peace Secretariat will take decisions on a consensus basis.

7.3.4 The required financial and administrative resources of the National Peace Secretariat, and the other bodies established by it, will be provided by the Department of Justice.

7.4 Regional and Local Dispute Committees

7.4.1 Peace bodies are to be established at both regional and local level, to be styled "Regional Dispute Resolution Committees" (RDRC) and "Local Dispute Resolution Committees" (LDRC) respectively.

7.4.2 Just as the Commission will gain its legitimacy from its composition, reflecting the interested and relevant organisations, the RDRCs and LDRCs will gain their legitimacy by representing the people and communities they are designed to serve.

7.4.3 The areas of jurisdiction of the RDRCs shall be decided by the National Peace Secretariat until such time as statutory provision is made.

7.4.4 RDRCs will be constituted as follows:

7.4.4.1 representatives from relevant political organisations;

7.4.4.2 representatives from relevant churches;

7.4.4.3 representatives of relevant trade unions, industry and business in the region;

7.4.4.4 representatives of relevant local and tribal authorities; and

7.4.4.5 representatives from the police and the defence force.

7.4.5 Duties of RDRCs shall include the following:

7.4.5.1 attending to any matter referred to it by the LDRC, the National Peace Secretariat or the Commission;

7.4.5.2 advising the Commission on matters causing violence and intimidation in the region;

7.4.5.3 settling disputes causing public violence or intimidation by negotiating with the parties concerned and recording the terms of such settlements;

7.4.5.4 guiding LDRCs in their duties;

7.4.5.5 monitoring current applicable peace accords and future peace agreements entered into in the relevant region and settling disputes arising from them;

7.4.5.6 informing the National Peace Secretariat of steps taken to prevent violence and intimidation in its region including breaches of Peace Agreements; and

7.4.5.7 consulting with the relevant authorities in its region to combat or prevent violence and intimidation.

7.4.6 The communities within which LDRCs are to be established should be identified by the RDRCs.

7.4.7 LDRCs will be constituted by drawing representatives reflecting the needs of the relevant community.

7.4.8 Duties of the LDRCs shall include the following:

7.4.8.1 attending to any matter referred to it by either the Commission or the RDRCs;

7.4.8.2 creating trust and reconciliation between grassroots community leadership of relevant organisations,including the police and the defence force;

7.4.8.3 co-operating with the local Justice of the Peace in combating and preventing violence and intimidation;

7.4.8.4 settling disputes causing public violence or intimidation by negotiating with the parties concerned and recording the terms of such settlements;

7.4.8.5 eliminating conditions which may harm peace accords or peaceful relations;

7.4.8.6 reporting and making recommendations to the relevant RDRCs;

7.4.8.7 to promote compliance with currently valid and future peace accords and agreements entered into in the relevant area;

7.4.8.8 to agree upon rules and conditions relating to marches, rallies and gatherings; and

7.4.8.9 liaise with local police and local magistrates on matters concerning the prevention of violence, the holding of rallies, marches and gatherings.

7.5 Justices of the Peace

7.5.1 It is proposed that additional Justices of the Peace be appointed after consultation with the relevant parties and the LDRCs. The purpose of the Justices of the Peace will essentially be to promote the peace process at grassroots level and to assist the LDRCs in their activities.

7.5.2 Duties of Justices of the Peace shall include the following:

7.5.2.1 investigating any complaint received from anyone pertaining to public violence and intimidation, except where legal processes of investigations instituted by the South African Police, other police forces, the Commission, the RDRCs, the Police Reporting Officer or a commission of inquiry are dealing with the relevant matter;

7.5.2.2 mediating between relevant parties to a dispute by negotiation;

7.5.2.3 applying rules of natural justice when issuing an order which will be fair and just in the particular circumstances in order to restore peaceful relations;

7.5.2.4 referring facts constituting an offence to the relevant Attorney-General;

7.5.2.5 in co-operation with parties and in consultation with the LDRCs acting as the ears and eyes of LDRCs and reacting in urgent cases;

7.5.2.6 in all matters relating to public violence reporting to the LDRCs; and

7.5.2.7 to pronounce as a judgement the terms of a settlement reached at LDRCs or RDRCs, provided that the terms of such settlement are executable.

7.6 RDRCs, LDRCs and Justices of the Peace shall be empowered to:

7.6.1 request the presence of any person with knowledge of any acts of violence or intimidation to give evidence;

7.6.2 request that any person in possession of any relevant document or other evidentiary material put the same at their disposal; and

7.6.3 protect the identity and safety of anyone assisting the relevant body as contemplated in 7.6.1 and 7.6.2 by excluding the public and/or media from its proceedings or by limiting access to its documents or reports or by prohibiting the publication of the contents of any of its documents or reports.

7.7 The National Peace Secretariat shall assist RDRCs in the exercise of their duties.

7.8 RDRCs may limit the number of members of a LDRC taking into account the prevailing circumstances in the community.

7.9 RDRCs shall determine the boundaries of the area constituting the jurisdiction of LDRCs within their own areas of jurisdiction.

7.10 The National Peace Secretariat and the Commission will advise on the policy to be applied to and by the RDRCs and the LDRCs and the management of the said bodies.

7.11 Members of the RDRCs, LDRCs and Justices of the Peace not in the full-time employment of the State shall be entitled to remuneration and allowances to be paid by the State.

7.12 RDRCs and LDRCs shall appoint chairmen and vice-chairmen to represent the RDRC or LDRC concerned for a period of one year.

7.13 RDRCs and LDRCs shall furnish the National Peace Secretariat, the Commission or the relevant RDRC, as the case may be, with any information required by such bodies.

7.14 In view of the lack of effective peace promoting mechanisms at grassroots level it is urgent that these proposals be implemented as soon as possible. Because of the said urgency, it is agreed that the proposals be implemented on a voluntary basis at the outset. In order to give permanency and effectivity to the proposed structures it will have to be given statutory recognition as soon as possible. This should also ensure that the structures be funded by the State. In drafting the required legislation there should be wide consultation including with the National Peace Committee. The proposed legislation will also be published for general information and comment.

7.15 In order to ensure the proper functioning of the LDRCs, it is necessary to:

7.15.1 give them high status in their communities for their role in the peace process;

7.15.2 compensate the members of LDRCs for out-of-pocket expenses for attending meetings; and

7.15.3 train the members of the LDRCs in conciliating disputes, running meetings, negotiating skills, etc.

National Peace Agreement, Chapter 8, National Peace Committee:

8.1 Composition

8.1.1 Those political parties and organisations currently represented on the Preparatory Committee shall constitute the National Peace Committee together with representatives drawn from other signatory parties where the National Peace Committee believes such inclusion will give effect to the National Peace Accord.

8.1.2 The National Peace Committee shall appoint a chairperson and vice-chairperson, who shall be drawn from the religious and business communities.

8.2 Objective

The objective of the National Peace Committee is to monitor and to make recommendation on the implementation of the National Peace Accord as a whole and to ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Organisations.

8.3 Functions

8.3.1 The functions of the National Peace Committee shall be, inter alia, to:

8.3.1.1 perform those functions imposed upon it by the National Peace Accord;

8.3.1.2 receive and consider reports by the National Peace Secretariat and the Commission;

8.3.1.3 decide disputes concerning the interpretation of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Organisations;

8.3.1.4 resolve disputes concerning alleged transgression of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Organisations;

8.3.1.5 convene a meeting of the signatories in the event of an unresolved breach of the National Peace Accord; and

8.3.1.6 recommend legislation to give effect to the National Peace Accord.

8.4 Powers

8.4.1 The National Peace Committee shall have the following powers:

8.4.1.1 promote the aims and spirit of the National Peace Accord;

8.4.1.2 convene a meeting of the signatories where necessary;

8.4.1.3 amend the constitution of the National Peace Committee;

8.4.1.4 negotiate and conclude further agreements to achieve the objects of the National Peace Accord.

8.5 Meetings

8.5.1 The National Peace Committee shall elect a chairperson who shall not be a representative of any of the signatory parties.

8.5.2 Meetings shall take place on a regular basis at a date and time agreed to in advance.

8.5.3 Urgent meetings shall be convened by the chairperson on not less than 48 hours' notice in writing to the authorised representatives;

8.5.4 The service of written notice of a meeting at the specified address of the authorised person shall constitute due notice.

8.5.5 An urgent meeting shall be called by the chairperson on a written request of one of the signatory parties to the National Peace Accord.

8.6 Voting

8.6.1 All decisions shall be by consensus.

8.6.2 In the event of a dispute over the interpretation of the National Peace Accord, the failure of the National Peace Committee to achieve consensus at the meeting at which the dispute is raised or at such further meetings as agreed, the dispute shall be referred to expedited arbitration in the manner set out in paragraph 9.4.

8.6.3 In the event of a breach of the National Peace Accord not being resolved by consensus at a meeting of the National Peace Committee, the chairperson of the National Peace Committee shall convene a meeting of national leadership of the signatories within 30 days of the meeting.

National Peace Agreement, Chapter 9, Enforcing the peace agreement between the parties:

9.1 There should be simple and expeditious procedures for the resolution of disputes regarding transgressions of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Organisations by political parties and organisations who are signatories of the National Peace Accord. These disputes should wherever possible, be settled:

9.1.1 at grassroots level;

9.1.2 through the participation of the parties themselves; and

9.1.3 by using the proven methods of mediation, arbitration and adjudication.

9.2 Disputes and complaints regarding transgression of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Organisations shall be referred to the National Peace Committee or a committee to whom it has referred the matter for resolution, if the parties were not able to resolve the dispute themselves.

9.3 Where the dispute cannot be resolved by the National Peace Committee or the committee to whom it has been referred to by the National Peace Committee, it shall be referred for arbitration.

9.4 The arbitrator shall be a person with legal skills, appointed by the relevant parties by consensus, failing which the arbitrator shall be appointed by the National Peace Committee within 21 days of being requested to do so in writing and failing which the Chair-person of the National Peace Committee shall appoint an arbitrator.

9.5 Subject to the above, the procedure of the arbitration shall be as follows:

9.5.1 the complaint shall be referred to the arbitrator by the complaining parties;

9.5.2 the arbitrator shall decide on a date of hearing and call upon the parties to the dispute to be present at the hearing with their witnesses;

9.5.3 the hearing shall be conducted in private;

9.5.4 the arbitrator shall make a finding on the facts and make an order on the organisation concerned to remedy the breach either by a public distancing of the organisation from the events or by steps to be taken to prevent further breaches of the Code and the time within which the order has to be implemented;

9.5.5 the arbitrator shall hold a compliance hearing once the time period has expired to determine compliance;

9.5.6 the arbitrator will then submit a report of its findings to the National Peace Committee.

9.6 The signatories agree to consult each other in the National Peace Committee on methods of ensuring that the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Organisations is enforceable on all such bodies, including the possibility of statutory enforcement.

Implementation History

1993

Full Implementation

In South Africa, the 1993 accord – which reaffirmed earlier agreements – outlines the duties of two overlapping bodies with a mandate of “dispute resolution: a “Goldstone Commission”, and a “National Peace Secretariat”.

1994

Full Implementation

The Goldstone Commission, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Richard Goldstone, was appointed with a mandate to investigate major episodes of political violence and conflict occurring between July 1991 and the April 1994 general elections. Appointed by then president FW de Klerk on 24 October 1991, the commission submitted 47 separate reports. The Commission played a crucial role in stopping political violence surrounding the peace talks. The Goldstone Commission’s “Report on Violence at Mooi River”, demonstrates their use of various methods including public testimony, public hearings, local policing, and the establishment of local dispute resolution committees at conflict sites, made up of members of conflicting societal groups or political parties at the troubled location.

The National Peace Secretariat was an apex organization that stood above the regional and local peace committees and dispute resolution committees. The essential task was “identifying township flashpoints” for the establishment of investigations and dispute resolution groups.1

The Natal province was among the first townships for the establishment of a multi-party peace committee in September 1991. The ANC, NP, IFP and the police launched the dispute resolution committee at a meeting. The committee is to be chaired by Durban Catholic Archbishop Dennis Hurley and leading businessman Christian Pretorius.2

The regional and local committees were required to include local church, business, political and community leaders. The local peace committees and dispute committees were tasked with reporting violence to be investigated by the Goldstone Commission. In all, there were 11 regional committees and over hundred local peace committees established between 1991 and 1994 “with an annual budget of almost $12 million which enabled the hiring of full time staff for regional offices”. Such committees were functional until the establishment of the national unity government in April 1994.3

  • 1. "South Africa's peace secretariat convened," Agence France Presse – English, November 7, 1991.
  • 2. "South Africa establishes first grass roots peace committee," Agence France Presse – English, December 11, 1991.
  • 3. "Culture of Peace: Promoting a Global Movement," UNESCO, 1995, 139-143, accessed December 5, 2010, http://www.culture-of-peace.info/monograph/pages138-139.html.
1995

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1996

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1997

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1998

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1999

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.