About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


Sisulu visits with Mandela; Mandela ill

By 1986, the ANC, with headquarters in Lusaka, London, and New York, had taken on the key role position of any future black regime. ANC recruits at military camps were influenced by Russian and East German instructors, and the practice of sending ANC students to Russia on scholarships was having a visible effect on the ideological leanings of the younger leaders. Consequently, in its struggle to achieve its aim, the ANC appeared less concerned about ideological arguments, more with change in tactics. Through Radio Freedom it announced a 'Peoples' War' calling on members to incite local violence to make the country ungovernable. But those who joined in promoting violence faced the ascending role of the South African military.

The Reagan administration found itself caught in the divisive sanctions debate. In an effort to influence the struggle out of revolutionary channels into political discussions, it increased its policy of constructive engagement to include all the main participants in the South African cauldron of politics. At the same time, it continued to express its disapproval of the violent methods used by the ANC and the degree of Soviet involvement in it.

Andrew Zondo, who was responsible for the 1985 Amanzimtoti bomb is hanged.

Restoration of South African Citizenship Act No 73:

Granted South African citizenship to TBVC citizens who were born in South Africa prior to their homeland's independence or who resided in South Africa permanently. TBVC citizens who remained in South Africa temporarily while seeking employment, working, studying or visiting and whose permanent home was one of the TBVC areas remained 'aliens' (RRS 1986: 94-5). Citizenship was restored to about 1 751 400 TBVC citizens, but eight to nine million still remained subject to the provisions of the 1937 Aliens Act. There was, however, according to Budlender (1989: 4), no official attempt to enforce this new migrant labour system.

Commenced: 1 July 1985

Repealed by s 7 of the Restoration and Extension of South African Citizenship Act No 196 of 1993.

Gazankulu: Labour Regulations Repeal Act No 4:

Commenced: 6 February 1987

KaNgwane: Labour Relations Repeal Act No 6:

Commenced: 25 June 1987

KwaZulu: National Welfare Act No 9:

Commenced: 24 July 1987

Alexandra exploded several times, with more than 30 people killed.

The National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) is formed.

The movement for People's Education grows. A further State of Emergency is called.

The Private Schools Act is made into law. This Act officially allows racially mixed private schools.

Brigitte Mabandla becomes legal advisor to ANC Legal and Constitutional Affairs Department.

Zubeida Jaffer detained for editing community and trade papers.

Winnie Mandela returns to her home, becomes active in ANC politics.Her opposition to the Botha regime earns her the title "Mother of the Nation."

Sister Bernard Ncube is detained,and spends three months in solitary confinement. Sister Ncube's detentions evoke international condemnation.

January 1986

Soweto pupils return to school in January in response to a call from the Soweto Parents Crisis' Committee

167 people died in political violence in January.

7 January 1986

South Africa's foreign minister 'Pik' Botha warns Botswana to take action against ANC operations in its country.

The ANC in exile in Lusaka, calls on its supporters to take the struggle into white areas.

20 January 1986

Twenty-two black South Africans appear in the Delmas Court for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government.

25 January 1986

Sixty ANC refugees are airlifted out of Lesotho to counter South Africa's threat of a blockade against that country.

31 January 1986

In his opening speech to Parliament, President Botha outlines government policy on the restoration of South African citizenship to blacks, their involvement in decision-making, freehold property rights and uniform identity documents for all population groups. could become president of South Africa.

February 1986

In February the leader of the Progressive Federal Party resigned from Parliament because he said Parliament is incapable of bringing about the desired reforms.

7 February 1986

Dr. Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, leader of the opposition PFP, resigns from parliamentary politics.

25 February 1986

South Africa and Botswana agree to take steps preventing ANC operatives from using Botswana as a transit base into South Africa.

March 1986

COSATU held discussions with ANC and SACTU in Lusaka.

At the National Education Crisis Committee meeting in March it is resolved that the boycott of schools should end.

7 March 1986

The State of Emergency imposed on 21 July 1985 lifted.

The South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the ANC issue a joint statement in Lusaka, reiterating their commitment to overthrow white supremacy in South Africa.

7 March 1986

State of emergency lifted (RRS 1985: 455).

7 March 1986

The state of emergency is lifted on 7 March.

8 March 1986

Moses Mabhida, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, dies in Maputo.

12 March 1986

The Eminent Persons Group meets imprisoned ANC leader, Nelson Mandela.

13 March 1986

South Africa:Signs multilateral Wheat Trade Convention.

14 March 1986

On 14 March, 14 people have been killed since the lifting of the state of emergency.

Since September 1984 to March 1986, 1 416 people have died. March had the highest monthly figure of 171.

26 March 1986

South Africa and Lesotho issue a joint statement that their respective territories are not to be used for acts of terrorism against each other.

April 1986

South African Communist Party leader Moses Mabhida, is buried in Maputo, Mozambique in April.

Representatives of 34 organisations attend the Kwazulu-Natal Indaba to discuss regional representation in April. The UDF and National Forum Committee refuse to attend.

A journalist Mr. Lucky Kutumela, died in detention in Lebowa in April. A week later Peter Nchabeleng died in the same police station.

In April there is a complete stay-away of black workers in White River and Nelspruit. The boycott of white shops in Port Elizabeth is re-imposed.

14 April 1986

Bishop Desmond Tutu is appointed head of the Anglican Church of South Africa.

17 April 1986

Internal Security Amendment Act No 5:

Granted further control over illegal gatherings.

Commenced: 17 April 1986

17 April 1986

Special Offences Act No 6:

Made it an offence to possess a tyre or similar object, or any inflammable liquid, in circumstances in which it could be inferred that such things could be used to commit an offence.

Commenced: 17 April 1986

18 April 1986

South Africa:Signs bilateral monetary agreement with Lesotho.

Signs trilateral agreement amending monetary agreement between South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, dated 5 December 1974.

Signs monetary agreement with Swaziland.

1 May 1986

KwaNdebele: Police Act No 11:

Commenced: 1 May 1987

19 May 1986

South African commandos air strike alleged guerrilla targets in Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, jeopardizing the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) mission to South Africa.

22 May 1986

The multi-racial National Council, intended to negotiate a constitutional structure for South Africa, is unveiled.

June 1986

a national emergency was declared, that lasted until 1990.

5 June 1986

South Africa:Signs treaty with Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe relative to the establishment of the Limpopo Basin Permanent Technical Committee.

11 June 1986

Security Laws Amendment Act No 13:

Imposed imprisonment for up to ten years for disruption of any educational institution, unlawful strikes, boycotting of consumer goods, civil disobedience, obstruction of public places, or attending a restricted funeral.

Commenced: 11 June 1986

12 June 1986

The Eminent Persons Group releases its report on South Africa.

Government declares a new State of Emergency and hundreds of The State drops the case against the remaining four charged with treason in the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court.

12 June 1986

State of Emergency declared again - this time, all over the country.

12 June 1986

Countrywide state of emergency declared in terms of the Public Safety Act No 3 of 1953.

Far-reaching regulations prevent the dissemination or publication of information relating to police conduct or any incidents categorised as 'unrest' incidents.

Ø. Regulation 16 provided that the security forces were indemnified from prosecution or civil liability for unlawful acts committed in good faith.

Ø. Regulation 16(3) attempted to exclude the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to set aside regulations issued in terms of the Act.

Ø. Regulation 10 provided for the prohibition of publication or dissemination of 'subversive' statements.

Numerous challenges to the regulations resulted in further amendments. Commissioners of Police were authorised to restrict township funerals, impose curfews, prohibit school pupils from being outside their classrooms during school hours and prohibit indoor gatherings by named organisations.

16 June - 20 June 1986

World Conference on Sanctions against Racist South Africa, UNESCO House, Paris, organised by the United Nations in cooperation with OAU and the Movement of Non-aligned Countries.

24 June 1986

In Britain, Foreign Office Minister Lynda Chalker, meets Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC.

26 June 1986

Public Safety Amendment Act No 67:

Allowed for any area to be declared an 'unrest area' by the Minister of Law and Order, thus avoiding the negative consequences of declaring a national state of emergency. Denied the Supreme Court the jurisdiction to set aside any regulations in terms of the Act.

Commenced: 26 June 1986

Repealed by s 4 of the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

July 1986

The Transkei, Kangwane and

KwaNdebele 'homelands' are plagued by violence and Piet Ntuli, Home Affairs Minister for KwaNdebele, is killed in a bomb explosion.

The European Community Mission under the leadership of British Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe, pays a weeklong visit to South Africa to assess the situation.

1 July 1986

Influx control restrictions lifted and passes to be replaced by a uniform identity document for all population groups.

1 July 1986

Abolition of Influx Control Act No 68:

Amended the 1927 Black Administration Act in order to repeal sections relating to the removal of black communities as well as individual black persons (RRS 1986: 339).

Commenced: 1 July 1986


1 July 1986

Abolition of Influx Control Act No 68:

Amended the 1927 Black Administration Act in order to repeal sections relating to the removal of black communities as well as individual black persons (RRS 1986: 339).

Commenced: 1 July 1986


1 July 1986

Identification Act No 72:

Repealed the 1952 Blacks (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act and large portions of the 1950 Population Registration Act (RRS 1986: 338). Identity numbers would no longer reflect a person's race group in terms of the 1950 Population Registration Act or any other law (RRS 1986: 7).

Commenced: 1 July 1986

IN FORCE (as amended by the Identification Amendment Act No 47 of 1995: CENSUS AND STATISTICS.

1 July 1986

Government Notice No 72:

Defined curfew regulations.

Commenced: 1 July 1986

7 July 1986

After enduring more than twenty years of government banning, Winnie Mandela is freed of all state-ordered restriction.

31 July 1986

South Africa:Signs treaty with Zimbabwe regarding the amendment of the trade agreement of 30 November 1964.

August 1986

Zephania Mthopeng is elected President of the PAC.

South African intelligence forces raid Swaziland in search of ANC activists.

Beginning of violence in Natal between Inkatha and UDF supporters.

1 August 1986

Elite Unit Act No 18:

Established an intelligence organisation which could investigate almost anything.

Commenced: 1 August 1986

National Key Points Act No 16:

Empowered the Minister of Defence to declare any premises a 'national key point'. Such premises could not be destroyed.

Commenced: 1 August 1986

12 August 1986

At the Federal Congress of the National Party, President Botha outlines six proposals for discussion with the United States, Britain, France, West Germany and neighbouring African states.

KwaNdebele 'homeland' rejects independence.

13 August 1986

At the National Party Federal Congress, Chris Heunis, Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, outlines plans for the creation of a black electorate to choose leaders to be represented on a National Statutory Council which will play a role in power sharing. Government also consider establishing independent 'city states'.

26 August 1986

Internal Security Amendment Act No 66:

Created a new section 50(a) of the 1982 Internal Security Act to allow for continued detention for a period of 180 days on the authorisation of a policeman at or above the rank of lieutenant colonel, if he was of the opinion that such detention would contribute to the 'termination, combating or prevention of public disturbance, disorder, riot or public violence at any place within the Republic'.

Commenced: 26 August 1986

Repealed by s 33 of the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act No 138 of 1991.

1 September 1986

QwaQwa: Labour Regulations Repeal Act No 7:

Commenced: 1 September 1986

5 September 1986

KwaNdebele: Labour Regulations Repeal Act No 3:

Commenced: 5 September 1986

8 September 1986

Diplomatic office of ANC in Stockholm bombed.

9 September 1986

Three ANC members are executed, amongst them Andrew Zondo, who bombed a shopping centre in Amanzimtoti, Natal, in December 1985.

9 September 1986

Sipho Xulu, Clarence Payi and Andrew Zondo - members of ANC and Umkhonto - executed.

15 September 1986

Black Communities Development Amendment Act No 74:

Introduced freehold rights in urban black townships and extended the definition of 'competent person' such that TBVC citizens could acquire leasehold or ownership (Budlender 1989: 5). The 1984 Black Communities Development Act was amended to allow 'South African' citizens and certain other blacks to acquire freehold property rights in black townships (RRS 1986: 343).

Commenced: 15 September 1986

Repealed by s 72 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Both the above Acts introduced freedom of movement for South African citizens (i.e. excluding the TBVC states) (RRS 1986: 343). However, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations, 'shifting the basis of discrimination from race to foreign nationality would fool nobody' (RRS 1986: 343). According to the Black Sash, about 7.5 million TBVC citizens who did not have urban residence rights in South Africa remained aliens in 'South Africa' (i.e. South Africa excluding the TBVC states) (RRS 1986: 344).

16 September 1986

The European Economic Community (EEC) imposes sanctions against South Africa, coal being the exception.

26 September 1986

Defence Act No 17:

Established a Ciskei defence force.

Commenced: 26 September 1986

30 September 1986

President Botha retires as leader of the Cape Division of the National Party.

October 1986

Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act adopted by the USA.

4 October 1986

CUSA/ZACTU merger to form NACTU.

19 October 1986

Death of President Samora Machel of Mozambique in plane crash in South Africa.

24 October 1986

South Africa:Signs treaty on Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

Exchange of notes with Lesotho regarding the privileges and immunities accorded to the members of the Joint Permanent Technical Commission

4 November 1986

Oliver Tambo, who arrived in Moscow at head of a delegation of ANC, met Michael Gorbachev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee.

27 November 1986

Three of the twenty-two Delmas trialists are freed.

4 December 1986

Defence Amendment Act:

Dealt mainly with various ways of combating terrorism.

Commenced: 4 December 1986

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.