Eighteen years ago this month, the amnesty commission of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), under advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, released its damning report, recommending about 300 prosecutions of apartheid-era perpetrators across the political spectrum.

Today, with the inquest into the 1982 death in custody of trade unionist Neil Aggett under way, and with public furore over whether former president FW de Klerk is responsible for issuing orders to kill, questions are being raised about the cost to the taxpayer of prosecuting old-order thugs.

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