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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Chronology of Documents and Reports

2 February 1990

F. W. DE KLERK delivers a speech at the opening of Parliament announcing the UNBANNING OF THE ANC, THE SACP, AND OTHER LIBERATION

MOVEMENTS. (Schedule of Documents, Document 16)

12 February 1990


27 April 1990

The first group of ANC LEADERS returns to South Africa from exile.

2 - 4 May 1990

THE GROOTE SCHUUR ACCORD (Schedule of Documents, Document 17): the NP and the ANC agree on a common commitment to the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation as well as a commitment to a process of negotiations. Temporary immunity is granted to members of the NEC and other specific members of the ANC. The NP undertakes to review security legislation, to work towards lifting the state of emergency, and to establish channels of communication between themselves and the ANC.

6 August 1990

THE PRETORIA MINUTE (Schedule of Documents, Document 18): the NP and the ANC agree that further releases of political prisoners will start on 1 September 1990; indemnity will be granted to persons as of 1 October 1990. The ANC unilaterally agrees to suspend all armed actions 'In the interest of moving as speedily as possible towards a negotiated peaceful political settlement'. Finally, the two parties agree that 'the way is now open to proceed towards negotiations on a new constitution'.

12 February 1991

THE D. F. MALAN ACCORD (Schedule of Documents, Document 19): the ANC's undertaking to suspend all armed action is further defined to mean that there will be no armed attacks, or threats of attacks, infiltration of personnel and material, creation of underground structures, statements inciting violence, and training inside South Africa. It is further agreed that: membership to Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the ANC's military wing, will not be unlawful; individual weapons will be licensed in terms of existing legislation; and the right to peaceful demonstrations will be maintained.

June 1991

The 'Inkathagate Scandal' and revelations about SADF involvement in death squads and the ongoing violence emerge. In response, the ANC suspends all bilateral meetings with the regime.

31 July 1991

An ANC National Executive Committee meeting demands the installation of an Interim Government. The ANC's National Working Committee (NWC) is instructed to begin laying the basis for the convening of the All Party Congress (APC).

August 1991

The NWC establishes the NEGOTIATIONS COMMISSION as a sub-committee.

14 September 1991

THE NATIONAL PEACE ACCORD iS signed. This is the first multi-party agreement.

25 September 1991

IDEAS ON INTERIM GOVERNMENT are developed. The ANC's Negotiations Commission holds a workshop to develop its position on an interim government.

October 1991


NWC instructs the Negotiations Commission to arrange bilateral talks with all other parties about the convening of the APC. Bilateral discussions are then initiated with, inter alia, the National Party (NP), the Labour Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), parties operating in the homelands, and the governments of Venda and the Transkei. Bilateral meetings take place between the ANC and the NP government on 17, 24, and 31 October.

25 27 October 1991

THE PATRIOTIC FRONT (PF), a loose alliance of parties which have held an anti-apartheid position, is launched. The PF Conference agrees on a joint programme for the negotiated transfer of power. It is agreed that: only a constituent assembly elected on the basis of one-person-one-vote in a united South Africa could draft and adopt a democratic constitution; a sovereign interim government will be established, which should at the very least control security forces and related matters, the electoral process, state media, and defined areas of budget and finance, as well as secure international participation; the APC should be held as soon as possible.

2 12 November 1991

The ANC prepares for the ALL-PARTY CONGRESS (APC). Towards this end, the ANC consults with the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), the Azanian Peoples Organization (AZAPO), the Democratic Party (DP), homeland leaders, Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) organizations, religious leaders, and the National Party government. Broad agreement is reached. The first meeting of the APC is scheduled for 29 and 30 November 1991; its agenda includes: a climate for free political participation; general constitutional principles; a constitution-making body; interim government; the future of TBVC (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, Ciskei) states; the role of the international community, if any; and time frames.

15 November 1991

The first SCHEDULED APC CANNOT TAKE PLACE: the preparatory meeting for the APC scheduled for 15 November does not go ahead. The IFP insists that this meeting only be attended by the NP, the IFP, and the ANC. The ANC proposes that all parties be allowed to attend. This meeting is postponed to 20 November.

20 November 1991

The scheduled APC PREPARATORY MEETING IS AGAIN POSTPONED, this time to 29 November. The IFP is opposed to the convenors of the APC including two religious leaders, Johan Heyns and Stanley Mogoba; the IFP wants the Chief Justice to convene this meeting on his own.

29 30 November 1991

Tile ALL-PARTY PREPARATORY MEETING takes place. Twenty organizations and parties attend. It is decided that the name of the APC be The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA). It is agreed that the first meeting of CODESA will take place on 20 and 21 December 1991. For instances in which consensus fails to emerge, the principle of 'sufficient consensus' as a decision-making mechanism is agreed to. The PAC walks out of CODESA ten minutes before the end of the meeting, accusing the ANC of 'selling out'.

20 21 December 1991

The first meeting of CODESA takes place. The meeting adopts a DECLARATION OF INTENT (Schedule of Documents, Document 22). All parties with the exception of the IFP and the Bophuthatswana government sign the Declaration. The NP apologizes officially for the policy of apartheid and confirms for the first time that the party is prepared to accept an elected constituent assembly provided that it also acts as an interim government. Nelson Mandela also launches his fiercest public attack on F. W. de Klerk.

February 1992

THE NP ACCEPTS THE ANC'S DEMAND FOR AN INTERIM GOVERNMENT and the principles that a new South Africa be non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic. Working Group 2 produces an initial agreement on general constitutional principles. The regime, however, remains insistent that Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) be disbanded. The ANC's position is that only an interim government can decide the fate of MK.

17 March 1992

An ALL-WHITE REFERENDUM iS held. The NP government receives overwhelming support for reform.

March 1992


Phase 1 should see the appointment by CODESA of an Interim Government Council to oversee the activities of the present government. Multi-party committees should take control of key functions such as law and order, defence, finance, and foreign affairs. Phase 2 (after elections) would then see the establishment of the constituent assembly and the interim government.

23 March 1992

The ANC tables proposals for an INTERIM MEDIA STRUCTURE. The proposals argue that the media has a central role to play in levelling the political playing field. It is proposed, therefore, that an Independent Media Commission be established.

7 April 1992

INITIAL AGREEMENTS emerge. Negotiations produce initial agreement that interim government should take place in two stages: the first stage would consist of the formation of a Transitional Executive Council (TEC); the second stage would commence after the elections and consist of the interim government and constituent assembly. The TEC would be multi-party in form and would function alongside the existing tricameral parliament. Multi-party sub-committees of the TEC with executive powers would be established for key areas of government.

27 April 1992

A special sub-committee recommends special, but not equal, participation by TRADITIONAL LEADERS IN THE NEGOTIATIONS.

4 May 1992

On the question of reincorporation, the CODESA task group dealing with reincorporation recommends unanimously that the TBVC STATES SHOULD BE REINCORPORATED into

South Africa provided that the will of those states is tested in the up-coming non-racial elections.

May 1992 (first week)

PARTIES PREPARE FOR CODESA II (CODESAs second plenary session) to take place on 15 and 16 May. Many issues still remain unresolved. The ANC hopes to achieve agreement at CODESA II on a two-phased interim government.

15 16 May 1992

CODESA II DEADLOCKS On the question of a constitution-making body. Technically, the deadlock manifests itself around the question of the special majorities required to adopt a final constitution. After consultations with other members of the Patriotic Front, the ANC puts forward a compromise proposal .

26 May 1992

The ANC holds its NATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS CONSULTATIVE FORUM. This meeting confirms the withdrawal of the ANC compromise position.

28 31 May 1992

The ANC HOLDS ITS NATIONAL POLICY CONFERENCE. The Conference provides guidelines for the transfer of power to the majority leading to the transformation of society. The Conference insists on various conditions before an election and a single-chambered Constitutional Assembly allowing for a two-thirds majority for decision-making. It also asks for the drafting of a 'Transition to Democracy Act' as the transitional constitution.

17 June 1992

A massacre of more than forty people occurs at BOIPATONG.

23 June 1992

BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS ARE BROKEN OFF. The ANC's National Executive Committee holds an emergency meeting to discuss the implications of the massacre. While it reaffirms its commitment to a negotiated settlement, it also resolves to break off all negotiations (both bilateral, with the NP government, and multi-lateral), makes fourteen demands, and accuses the regime of complicity in the violence.

26 June 1992

The ANC sets out its demands in a memorandum to E. W. de Klerk. (Schedule of Documents, Document 23)

2 July 1992

DE KLERK RESPONDS CO the ANC's memorandum (Schedule of Documents, Document 24), denying government complicity in the violence and refusing to commit the government to the principle of majority rule. Nevertheless, the NP disbands Battalions 31 and 32, and Koevoet; refers the future of hostels to the Goldstone Commission; issues a proclamation banning dangerous weapons; and agrees to international monitoring of the violence.

1.5 16 July 1992

In the announcement of an UNPRECEDENTED MASS ACTION campaign, the Tripartite Alliance (the ANC, the SACP, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions) commits itself to a month of rolling mass action in support of its demands.

2 August 1992

The UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL holds a special session to debate the violence in South Africa. The UN adopts special resolution 765 calling for a special representative of the Secretary General, Cyrus Vance, to visit South Africa.

August 1992

The UNITED NATIONS MONITORING COMMITTEE arrives in South Africa to monitor the ANC's Mass Action Campaign. They attend various marches and demonstrations. Vance meets Pik Botha and voices concern over political prisoners, asking for their release. Botha responds by linking this to the question of a general amnesty, the abandonment of armed struggle, MK arms caches and ANC underground units.

31 August 2 September 1992

Towards the ESTABLISHMENT OF A CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION, the National Working Committee of the ANC chooses its Secretary General as a channel of communication between the ANC and the regime. This 'channel' of communication replaces the official bilateral meetings and is meant to enable necessary communication between the ANC and the NP to continue.

26 September 1992

At a summit between the regime and the ANC a RECORD OF UNDERSTANDING is agreed to. This Record of Under-standing deals with agreements relating to the Constitutional Assembly, interim government, political prisoners, problematic hostels, dangerous weapons, and mass action. (Schedule of Documents, Document 27)

29 September 1992

MASSACRES OCCUR AT BISHO where many protesters opposing the government of Ciskei are killed when soldiers open fire.

23, 25 November 1992

The ANC and the NP come to an AGREEMENT TO RESUME BILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS. As part of the process of resuming negotiations, the ANC embarks on a series of meetings with various parties. The ANC meets with the members of the Tripartite Alliance,the Patriotic Front, the DP, and the Afrikaner Volksunie (AVU). The National Executive Committee of the ANC meets at a special session focusing on negotiations and the need to curb violence. This meeting adopts a position paper on strategic perspectives (Schedule of Documents,

Document 28), signalling the ANC's willingness to make compromises.

5 December 1992

PARTIES HOLD 'BOSBERAADS' (secluded meetings). The first of a two-part bilateral is held between the ANC and the NP regime. The first part deals with matters relating to security and violence, and the second part to elections, media, regional and local government, TBVC states, and the transitional constitution. The second part of the bilateral with the NP takes place between 20 January and 4 February 1993. The discussions are divided into two parts. It is agreed to propose to each of the principals that a multi-party negotiation planning conference be held in March. The purpose of this conference would be to plan the resumption of multilateral negotiations.

16,18 February 1993

The ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) meets and adopts a RESOLUTION ON NEGOTIATIONS AND NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION. The NEC also endorses proposals for the holding of a multi-party negotiation planning conference on 5 and 6 March with a view to the resumption of multi-party negotiations.

4 5 March 1993

The NEGOTIATIONS PLANNING CONFERENCE iS held at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park, Johannes-burg. Twenty-six parties, administration, organizations, and traditional leaders attend. A resolution calling for the resumption of negotiations is adopted (Schedule of Documents, Document 29). It is agreed that a multi-party negotiating forum will take place on 1 and 2 April 1993. The purpose of this meeting is to chart the path of the multi-party negotiations.

27 28 March 1993

THE PATRIOTIC FRONT MEETS. This meeting serves to secure consultations with all structures of the Mass Democratic Movement in developing a common perspective on the way forward. A resolution is adopted accordingly. The PAC and AZAPO refuse to attend this meeting.

1 Aprll 1993

THE MULTI-PARTY NEGOTIATING FORUM MEETS. Twenty-six participants meet including the PAC, the Conservative Party (CP), and the Afrikaner Volksunie (AVU). The success of this meeting is reflected in the fact that it is able to complete two days of scheduled work in one. The meeting defines the issues to be dealt with at the multi-party negotiations.

10 Aprll 1993

CHRIS HANI is assassinated.

22 April 1993

The TRIPARTITE ALLIANCE meets and resolves to make the following demands: that there be an immediate announcement of a election date; that the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) be installed as a matter of urgency; and that all armed formations be placed under immediate joint multi-party control. The ANC also calls for the negotiations to be speeded up.

26 April 1993

The FIRST PLANNING COMMITTEE OF THE MULTI-PARTY NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS meets and prepares a report relating to all agreements and discussions of CODESA.

30 April 1993

TECHNICAL COMMITTEES are formed: the report of the Planning Commit-tee contains proposals on violence, the Independent Electoral Commission, state and statutorily controlled media, repressive and discriminatory legislation, and the TEC and its sub-councils. The Negotiating Council resolves to establish six Technical Committees to consider the various issues. The Technical Committees are composed of six people each, none of whom are representative of any political organizations or parties. This marks a change from the style of negotiations adopted during the CODESA period.

18 May 1993

The NEGOTIATING COUNCIL considers a further report by the Planning Committee. The report proposes the establishment of two further Technical Committees. The Planning Committee also approves a draft resolution to be adopted noting an urgent need to inspire confidence in the negotiating process and the ability to resolve problems peacefully. Accordingly, the resolution commits parties to ensuring that the negotiating process makes progress such that an election date is set within the following five weeks; also, that the election should take place no later than the end of April 1994.

1 June 1993

The NEGOTIATING COUNCIL agrees that sufficient progress has been made to enable it to agree to 27 APRIL 1994 as the date for South Africa's first ever non-racial elections. The Council instructs the Technical Committee on Constitutional Matters to draft a transitional constitution that will lead to the drafting and adoption of a final, democratic constitution by an elected Constitutional Assembly.

15 June 1993

The entire CONCERNED SOUTH AFRICANS GROUP (COSAG) STAGES A WALKOUT from the Negotiating Council, only to return to the next meeting of the Negotiating Council. The IFP submits a resolution calling on the Council not to consider any of the constitutional principles recommended by the Technical Committee, and to consider proposals for a federal constitution. This is rejected in a vote. The PAC abstains from this vote. Parties have been given the opportunity until this day to secure greater consensus for the resolution calling for an election for 27 April 1994. The resolution is accordingly confirmed.

22 June 1993

The Negotiating Council unanimously adopts a resolution constituting a DECLARATION ON THE SUSPENSION OF HOSTILITIES, ARMED STRUGGLE, AND VIOLENCE.

The Negotiating Council accepts the recommendations made by the Technical Committee on Violence and passes a resolution in terms thereof.

IN A RESOLUTION ON THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COM-MISSION AND THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMISSION, the Negotiating Council calls for the establishment of these Commissions.

23 June 1993

After several months of preparation a SUMMIT BETWEEN NELSON MANDELA AND MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI of the IFP takes place. A joint undertaking that would pave the way for free political activity, joint rallies, agreement on the strengthening of the Peace Accord, and greater liaison between the ANC and the IFP in negotiations arises from this meeting.

2 July 1993

THE NEGOTIATING FORUM MEETS at last, vindicating the calls made in the Harare Declaration. Agreement is reached at this meeting on the following steps towards a new constitution: (1) the Multi-Party Negotiating Process (MPNP) shall adopt constitutional principles providing for both strong regional government and strong national government; (2) these constitutional principles shall be binding on the constituent assembly and shall be justiciable by a constitutional court; (3) a Commission on Delimitation /Demarcation will make re-commendations on regional boundaries for the purposes of elections and regional government during the transitional period; (4) the MPNP shall agree on legislation to make provision for the levelling of the playing field and promoting conditions conducive to the holding of free and fair elections; (5) the MPNP shall agree on details of discriminatory legislation to be repealed; (6) the MPNP shall agree on a transition-al constitution (i.e., a Transition to Democracy Act).

26 July 1993

The Technical Committee on Constitutional Matters produces its DRAFT OUTLINE OF A TRANSITIONAL CONSTITUTION for discussion by the Negotiating Council. 31 July 1993 The COMMISSION FOR DELIMITATION OF REGIONS tables its report for discussion in the Negotiating Council on 2 August 1993. This report contains various criteria on the basis of which it recommends nine regions: Northern Transvaal, PWV (Pretoria, Witwatersrand, Vereeniging), Eastern Transvaal, KwaZulu/ Natal, Orange Free State, Northwest Transvaal, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape / Kei.

25 August 1993

The Technical Committee dealing with the TEC DRAFT BILL tables its eleventh working draft for discussion in the Negotiating Council.

25 28 October 1993

In a BILATERAL BETWEEN THE ANC AND THE NP to finalize agreements on the interim constitution, agreement is reached on a Government of National Unity, a provision agreeing to two deputy presidents, the required percentage to elect a deputy president, and the right to member-ship in the cabinet. The NP abandons its claim to a veto over decisions of cabinet.

16 November 1993

In a last-minute bilateral between Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, agreement is reached on the final issues required to complete the interim constitution. The agreements reached come to be known as the 'SIX-PACK' AGREEMENT.

18 November 1993

The ratification of the Interim Constitution by the plenary of the MPNP comes in the early hours of the morning of 18 November 1993.

January 1994


1 March 1994

The ANC AGREES TO INTERNATIONAL MEDIATION. This agreement is reached with Nelson Mandela and Mangosuthu Buthelezi on condition that the latter agrees to provisionally register the Inkatha Freedom Party for the elections. Before the international mediators can begin, however, disagreement wrecks the initiative.

March 1994

CISKEI AND BOPHUTHATSWANA COLLAPSE under the pressure of internal discontent and are reincorporated into South Africa.

27 18 Aprll 1994

South Africa's first ever non-racial, democratic election takes place.

9 May 1994

The CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY iS established, made up of 490 elected members.

August 1994

CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY ADMINISTRATION is established to support and facilitate the process of negotiation.

June 1994

The CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITTEE iS established. This becomes the premier multi-party negotiating body in the Constitutional Assembly.

September 1994

SiX THEME COMMITTEES are established to receive and collate the views of all parties on the substance of the constitution.

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.