About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1996

The new South African Constitution is adopted.

Bantu Holomisa fireded as Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs

Mamphela Rampele appointed Vice Chancellor of UCT.She becamethe first black and woman to hold such a position in South Africa.

Zubeida Jaffer becomes political editor of the Daily News.

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi appointed Deputy Minister of Welfare and Population Development.

Gill Marcus appointed Deputy Minister of Finance.

1 January 1996

At least twenty-eight people are murdered in KwaZulu-Natal on New Year's Day.

9 January 1996

Crime figures released by the police National Crime Information Management Centre confirm South Africa's designation as the most violent country in the world outside a war zone. It is estimated that on average 15 percent of a South African's disposable income is spent on security measures.

10 January 1996

Chief Buthelezi rejects the President's call to resume participation in the constitution-making process and returns to the Constitutional Assembly (CA).

11 January 1996

First Executive Deputy President Thaho Mbeki announces the establishment of an independent judicial inquiry to investigate allegations that government ministers and senior police officials are being kept under surveillance by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The investigation will be undertaken by the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (NICOC).

15 January 1996

The National Party (NP) admits it is involved in a fundamental reassessment of its role in the country's political life.

19 January 1996

President Nelson Mandela holds meetings with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and later declares he will initiate a round of urgent peace talks in Kwazulu-Natal, leading as soon as possible to an 'imbizo' (a traditional Zulu gathering).

21 January 1996

President Mandela meets Inkatha leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who endorses the plan for the traditional gathering to discuss ways of ending the bloodshed in Kwazulu-Natal.

23 January 1996

The independent Human Rights Committee (HRC) reports that 837 people have been killed in political violence in 1995 compared to 1,600 in 1994 and 2,009 in 1993.

28 January 1996

President Mandela meets United States black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam. Both state their opposition to racism and sexism. The media, religious leaders and opposition criticize the reception of Farrakhan.

29 January 1996

Two serving members of the army and a third man are arrested in connection with the attack on St James's Church in Cape Town in July 1993.

The ANC blame the killing of up to fourteen people and the injuring of twenty-six unemployed people in Alberton on 'third force' activity returning to the main industrial area around Johannesburg.

February 1996

South Africa and (mainland) China exchanged notes on most favoured nation status.

2 February 1996

The National Party launches a 'core values' document in Pretoria. On the same day it is reported that the Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development Minister Roelf Meyer will resign his Cabinet post on 1 March 1996 to become Secretary-General of the 'revamped' National Party. Its leader Mr. F.W. de Klerk confirms that while it is not seeking formal alliances, it has held discussions with various parties opposed to the African National Congress (ANC).

9 February 1996

It is announced that a special party congress has been called for in Bloemfontein at Easter by the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) at which a new leadership could be elected.

10 February 1996

President Mandela discloses that he has invited Cuban President Fidel Castro to South Africa. This move elicits expressions of concern from the United States and criticism from the National Party.

13 February 1996

Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg announces that the 1995-96 Budget deficit will be R30.1 billion or 6 per cent of G.D.P.

14 February 1996

President Mandela issues an invitation to Libyan leader Col. M. al Kadhafi. The National Party considers this could jeopardize South Africa's relations with the United States.

16 February 1996

The Supreme Court orders the Potgietersrus Primary School in Northern Province to admit Black pupils.

17 February 1996

Violence claims at least sixty lives in Kwazulu-Natal. A pattern is repeated every weekend during February 1996.

18 February 1996

The Algerian government protests over President Mandela's reception of the head of the opposition Islamic Salvation Front's (FIS) parliamentary delegation abroad, A. Haddam, and decides to recall its ambassador from South Africa. This decision is recinded on 21 February 1996.

21 February 1996

Welfare and Population Development Minister, Abe Williams, resigns in the face of corruption allegations relating to missing pension funds. The National Party thus loses one of its seven members of the Cabinet in the government of National Unity.

22 February 1996

Sixteen Black children arrive at the Potgietersrus Primary School to register, protected by police officers.

26 February 1996

Court officials announce that the Potgietersrus school authorities will not challenge the Supreme Court decision.

Relations with Algeria are restored after intervention by President Mandela. Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. A. Paltad, is sent to Algeria and, on return, states that the two countries will strengthen ties by signing a bilateral agreement to develop areas of common interest.

March 1996

Safety and Security Minister prohibited carrying of dangerous weapons in public in 74 magisterial districts.

3 March - 4 March 1996

President Mandela visits Mali for two days (and Togo for a few hours on 4 March). He and Togolese President Eyadema review the situation in West Africa. South Africa and Mali agree to establish diplomatic relations.

5 March 1996

President Mandela is reported to have held talks with Mr. Jonas Savimbi, President of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in Togo on 4 March 1996. Discussions centred on the Angolan peace process and democracy in South Africa.

5 March - 7 March 1996

President Mandela undergoes three days of intensive medical checks to counter rumours concerning the state of his health.

7 March 1996

A Foreign Ministry statement issued in Pretoria, blames 'developments in Angola' for the indefinite postponement of President Mandela's visit to Angola.

11 March 1996

Former Defence Minister General Magnus Malan and nineteen co-accused, plead not guilty to thirteen charges of murder, and other charges, including conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder, at the opening of their trial in the Durban Supreme Court. The charges relate to a 1987 massacre of thirteen people in KwaMakhutha township south of Durban.

13 March 1996

Finance Minister Liebenberg presents the 1996-97 Budget, reports continuing economic growth and underlining his aim of building on the government's reputation for fiscal discipline.

15 March 1996

The first provisional constitution is unanimously adopted by the

Kwazulu-Natal legislature. The ANC secures a major concession - a clause nullifying an aspect of the constitution incompatible with the final national constitution and various contentious issues (including the monarchy, rural local government and provincial powers) are rendered 'of no force and effect' for periods ranging from six to eighteen months.

19 March 1996

President Mandela's thirteen-year marriage to Winnie Mandela is formally ended when a Rand Supreme Court judge grants his petition for divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.

20 March 1996

A hearing to decide the financial settlement between President Mandeia andWinnie Mandela is held at which the President testifies. Her claim for half of her husband's estate is dismissed because of her absence from court; she is ordered to pay the costs of the hearing. The President subsequently offers an unspecified out-of-court settlement.

21 March 1996

A massacre takes place at Donnybrook, Kwazulu-Natal only hours after President Mandela visits the province. All those killed are ANC supporters.

21 March 1996

Parliament established the Human Rights Commission to promote and protect human rights. It is empowered to investigate violations and advise government on implementation of human rights.

Dr. Barney Pityana is a Chairman. Members include Dr. Max Coleman, Helen Suzman, Brigalia Bam.

22 March 1996

A notice banning the carrying of weapons in public in seventy magisterial districts is published in the Government Gazette.

23 March 1996

At a rally in the Tugela Ferry district of Kwazulu-Natal some 6,000 lnkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters come armed with fighting sticks, spears, clubs and battle axes in clear defiance of the government's ban on traditional weapons.

28 March 1996

Ministerial changes in the Cabinet are announced.

Inkatha Freedom Party supporters march through the streets of. Johannesburg to mark the anniversary of the 1994 'Shell House killings'. The demonstrators defy a government ban on the carrying of traditional weapons.

President Mandela announces important changes to the Government of National Unity. Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg, whose resignation takes effect on 4 April 1996, is replaced by Trevor Manuel hitherto Trade and Industry and Tourism Minister; Pallo Jordan, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications is dismissed and replaced by Jay Naidoo formerly Minister in charge of the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

28 March 1996

Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg resigned and was replaced by Trevor Manuel. Alec Erwin was promoted to Manuel's post. Gill Marcus was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance. Pallo Jordan, Post and Telecommunications Minister, was dropped from the Cabinet: Jay Naidoo replaced him. The RDP office was closed.

April 1996

South Africa signed the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty in Cairo.

The number of black (African) students at universities increased from 36,684 in 1984 to 148, 817 in 1994. First year black students at WITS this year were more than white students. (The Star, April 9, 1996)

3 April 1996

Five members of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) are sentenced to twenty-six years imprisonttlellt each for their part in a bombing campaign in which twenty people were killed and hundreds injured, aimed at disrupting the 1994 elections.

8 April 1996

Iran's official news agency quotes Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo as saying, during his visit to Tehran, that South Africa's relations with Iran are good and that South Africa does not follow American policy in the region. Growing concern is expressed in the West over the substance and direction of South African foreign policy.

10 April 1996

The National Productivity Institute said, in its annual report, that employment in the formal sector of the economy was the same as in 1980. Gross domestic product per capita had decreased at 2 percent per year since 1980 and poverty increased at 2 percent per year.

11 April 1996

President Mandela warns that local government elections in KwazulU-Natal, scheduled for 29 May 1996, may have to be postponed again because of widespread violence and intimidation.

13 April 1996

Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary-General of the ANC and chairman of the Constitutional Assembly, announced his intentiOn to resign from Parliament once the final Constitution is agreed upon. He will become deputy Executive Chairman of New Africa Investment Ltd. (NAIL).

15 April 1996

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its opening session in East London. Reservations are expressed about the constitutional right of the Commission to grant amnesty to political killers by the families of anti-apartheid activists. Legal groups also argue that evidence of crimes should be heard in a court of law.

17 April 1996

During a working visit to Libya, Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo stresses South Africa's eagerness to strengthen and develop its relations with Libya. The South African people will never forget the support, assistance and the courageous stance shown by the Libyan Arab people to the people of South Africa. Diplomatic relations have already been established and during his visit a cooperation agreement is signed in the economic, scientific, technical and cultural fields.

19 April 1996

The Pan Africanist Congress conference in Bloemfontein over Easter resolve to hold a congress in August to resolve questions of leadership and the way forward. The Pan Africanist Students' Organization (PASO) and the Azanian National Youth Unity (AZANYU) delegates walk out. The Easter meeting is called a 'consultative conference' rather than a congress and no binding decisions can be taken.

24 April 1996

The Constitution Bill is given its first reading and is referred back to the Constitutional Committee for amendments to be considered. In terms of the interim constitution the final constitution has to be agreed by 9 May 1996, or a referendum could be forced.

25 April 1996

Parties table more than 300 amendments to the constitutional legislation. The National Party (NP) fight for the insertion of a right of lockout - as a counter to labour's right to strike - and provision for single-language education. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) calls for a one-day general strike on 30 April 1996 to demonstrate opposition to a lockout clause. The ANC is criticized for supporting this call. Both the ANC and the NP are criticized for negotiating in private.

Senior members of the Zulu royal family are attacked in a royal residence near Durban.

26 April - 11 May 1996

UNCTAD Conference in Johannesburg.

2 May 1996

South Africa and China exchange letters granting each other most-favoured-nation status.

4 May 1996

Violence in Kwazuiu-Natal spills over into the streets of central Durban and running gun battles ensue. The march protesting against the ban on carrying traditional weapons is organized by the National Hostel Residents' Association. Reports of killings continue throughout the month. Police reinforcements are sent to the province in a bid to prevent violence escalating further before the regional elections.

7 May 1996

Only a few hours before the expiry of the deadline for the production of the final document, and after a period of intense negotiations, the main political parties reach agreement on a new constitution.

8 May 1996

The new Constitution is finally approved by the 490-member Constituent mAssembly: 421 votes are cast in favour, two against, the Freedom Front (FF) abstains, the Inkatha Freedom Party does not attend the session, nine votes are not recorded. The heart of the constitution is a Bill of Rights listing fundamental freedom.

9 May 1996

Second Executive President F.W. de Klerk announces that the NP will withdraw from the Government of National Unity at the end of June 1996 and move into formal opposition. This decision is said to be occasioned by disagreements over the constitution itself and the growing financial crisis resulting from the collapse of the rand.

12 May 1996

Cyril Ramaphosa confirms that he is resigning as ANC Secretary-General, as well as from Parliament.

13 May 1996

As a result of the NP's withdrawal President Mandela carries out a Cabinet reshuffle replacing all the NP ministers with ANC appointees. The Ministry of General Services is abolished and the Ministries of Agriculture and Land Affairs are amalgamated. The changes are effective from 1 July 1996.

14 May 1996

The NP confirms it will withdraw from all provincial governments at the end of June, with the exception of the Western Cape where it is the majority party.

Local elections for KwaZulu-Natal are again postponed until 26 June 1996 as a result of persistent violence and administrative difficulties.

22 May 1996

Former South African Defence Force (SADF) Chief Tienie Groenewald is acquitted of all charges related to the 1987 KwaMakhuthu massacre. The trial of seventeen other accused, including that of former Defence Minister Magnus Malan, is adjourned until 10 June 1996.

29 May 1996

Local elections held in the Western Cape result in the National Party securing control of all three district councils.

June 1996

Greg Mills appointed National Director of SA Institute of International Affairs: Sara Pienaar took early retirement due to health reasons.

11 June - 13 June 1996

President Nelson Mandela's first state visit to Angola, planned for these three days, is postponed for the second time at the President's request. However, he commits South Africa to playing a constructive role in developing Angola's economy through increased investment and to assist in the peace process.

13 June 1996

A regional peace summit is held in Durban on the initiative of church leaders. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini urges his subjects to stop killing each other.

14 June 1996

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel unveils the government's macro-economic strategy in a framework document entitled Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR).

19 June 1996

Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Rubaina says his visit to South Africa will pave the way for an extnded state visit by Cuban President Fidel Castro and that the two countries have signed a joint communique committing themselves to strengthening relations.

22 June - 24 June 1996

Violence continued in Kwazulu-Natal. Thirty-seven murdered are reported on 22-23 June and fourteen on 24 June. The victims include an lnkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chairman.

23 June 1996

A service in Cape Town's St George's Cathedral marks the retirement of the Most Rev. Desmond Tutu as Archbishop of Cape Town and head of the Anglican Church in South Africa. He will remain chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

26 June 1996

Local elections are finally held in Kwazulu Natal. Thousands of additional police and troops are deployed and voting proceeds peacefully.

27 June 1996

The Minister of Local Government in Kwazulu-Natal applies to the Supreme Court to have voting in four rural areas declared null and void and for polling to be repeated in those areas. This follows ANC complaints about administrative chaos and intimidation. However President Mandela says the polls have largely been free and fair.

2 July 1996

The results of the local government elections in Kwazulu-Natal indicate that Inkatha polled 44.50 percent of the votes, the ANC 33.22 percent. Ward results give Inkatha 562 seats, the ANC 512 and the NP 187. The ANC wins control of all thirteen of the province's metropolitan councils, with a combined annual budget of R5 billion. lnkatha takes control of most of the rural councils but the budget allocation is less than R100 million.

7 July 1996

In a television broadcast President Mandela confirms that he will not stand for re-election in 1999 and gives clear support to Deputy President Thabo Mbeki as his successor.

9 July - 13 July 1996

President Nelson Mandela makes a triumphant state visit to London.

14 July 1996

President Mandela attends the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris as a guest of French President Jacques Chirac.

15 July 1996

General Constand Viljoen reassures RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama that the agreement between South Africa and Mozambique to settle farmers in northern Niassa Province is not designed to create 'Boer colonies' but is part of the development of the southern African region and its agricultural activity.

A grenade attack is launched on the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg. It is blamed by the ANC on a 'third force', and is linked by them to controversy over investigtions into the March 1994 Shell House massacre and civil claims by dependents of Zulus killed in it against the ANC party.

25 July 1996

The Constitutional Court rejects an attempt by the families of murdered political activists to have the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stripped of its power to grant amnesties. The Court rules that reconciliation should he placed above revenge and that the Commission can grant amnesty to those who come forward voluntarily, confess freely and can prove that their crimes have been politically motivated.

26 July 1996

A White House statement, issued at the end of a visit by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, states that a tentative agreement has been reached in the dispute over an attempt by the United States government to prosecute ARMSCOR over illegal weapons trafficking. Details of the agreement are not made public, but it is said 'to meet the needs of both countries'.

Bantu Holomisa is dismissed as Deputy Environment and Tourism Minister. His responsibilities are assigned to former ANC Youth League leader Peter Mokaba and it is announced that he will face internal ANC disiplinary charges.

30 July 1996

The Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane, is to resign from the government of National Unity following the lnkatha Freedom Party (IFP) resolution that he should join the Kwazulu-Natal provincial government.

2 August 1996

Bantu Holomisa, former ruler of the Transkei, claims that President Mandela had told him that Sol Kerzner (former head of Sun International) had donated two million rand to the ANC before the 1994 elections. He construes this as an attempt by Kerzner to have bribery charges against him dropped. The ANC initially strongly deny accepting payment.

3 August 1996

Following the National Party (NP)'s first federal congress since its withdrawal from the Government of National Unity, its policy plan is unveiled concentrating on anti-poverty strategies. The possibility of the Party changing its name is again discussed.

4 August 1996

During a march organized by the Cape Town-based Muslim organization People against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) a suspected drug dealer, Rashaad Staggie, is set alight and shot to death. PAGAD spokesmen later claim the motorcade of some 500 vehicles had been delivering an ultimatim to him and to his twin brother Rashid to end drug sales.

10 August 1996

President Mandela confirms that Sol Kerzner did indeed 'make the contribution' to the ANC electoral funds, but states that he has told no-one else in the ANC about the donation.

11 August 1996

PAGAD supporters attend a rally in Cape Town. Similar rallies are held in Durhan and Johannesburg's Lenasia area, and national support grows. Tensions rise and police and troops patrol. Leaders of PAGAD deny that there are plans for a 'jihad' or holy war and maintain theirs is a broad-based campaign against crime, for which they are receiving a ground swell of support.

13 August 1996

At least one PAGAD member is reported arrested on charges of murder and sedition. On the same day PAGAD says it is seeking aid from external sources including the Lebanese Islamic guerrilla movement Hezbollah. PAGAD is urged to support existing channels of law enforcement.

19 August 1996

The major parties begin their political party submission to the Truth Commission. In a forty-three-page document the Freedom Front (FF) leader, General Constand Viljoen, emphasizes the need for reconciliation and nation-building. The PAC acknowledges that its armed wing, APLA, targeted white civilians, takes responsibility for this, hut makes no apoligies.

21 August 1996

Former President F.W. de Klerk tells the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he reiterates his apologies for suftering caused during the conflict that ended the apartheid system. However, he says that when in power (1948-1994) his National Party (NP) had not, to his knowledge, authorized the security forces to commit murder, torture, rape, assassination or assault.

22 August 1996

The ANC presents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission a detailed 300-page self-analysis of the A NC's human rights record and strategy during its campaign to end apartheid. The document names thirty-four ANC members who were executed by an ANC military tribunal at an external base in Angola.

26 August - 27 August 1996

The Supreme Court convicts former Police Colonel Eugene de Kock of six killings during his service as commander of a police unit based outside Pretoria, Vlakplaas.

28 August 1996

An agreement is signed for the sale of Anglo American's almost 48 percent shareholding in Johnnies Industrial Corporation to the National Empowerment Consortium (NEC). The decision to sell is interpreted as a response to political pressure to transfer economic power to the black community.

30 August 1996

Bantu Holomisa is expelled from the ANC after a disciplinary hearing.

The government announces that units from the army and airforce, as well as extra police, will be stationed in Johannesburg in a drive to bring down crime rates. One of the operation's commanders is to be Colonel Buks Pieterse, who as second-in-command to the SADF's 32 Battalion (now disbanded) led cross-border raids into Angola during the Angolian civil war.

5 September 1996

During the lnkatha Freedom Party (IFP) submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi apologises for whatever hurt he may have caused hut reiterates that he never instructed any of his followers to engage in acts of violence. He makes public a top secret detailing a plot by the ANC to assassinate him in 1987.

6 September 1996

The bitter debate over the power of central government in relation to the provinces is reopened when the Constitutional Court rejects the new constitution, giving the Constitutional Assembly ninety days to rectify a number of specific aspects. A key objection concerns powers allocated to provincial governments which are substantially less and inferior to those set out in the thirty-four principles agreed by the political parties before the 1994 general elections.

11 September 1996

The Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) sign an agreement on wages and working conditions averting the likelihood of damaging strikes in the coal and gold mining industries.

12 September 1996

Iranian President Rafsanjani arrives in South Africa as part of a six-nation tour of Sub-Saharan Africa amid opposition to it within and without South Africa. President Mandela reiterates his stance that South Africa will make its own policy decisions.

16 September 1996

Former Police Colonel Eugene de Kock begins his evidence in Pretoria Supreme Court by revealing his part in the apartheid regime's 'dirty tricks' campaign. Pleading in mitigation, his testimony implicates leading NP figures and senior officers in the security forces over a two-week period. He insists he was part of a systematic campaign which encompassed the police, armed forces and covert security units.

17 September 1996

The South African Foreign Affairs Department denies Iranian media reports that the government has endorsed Iran's human rights record and has called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Gulf. Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo says only that South Africa is heartened by Iran's willingness to co-operate more fully with the UN's Special Representative of Human Rights. No joint communique is issued.

20 September 1996

The PAC's finance secretary says it will transform itself from a revolutionary movement to a fully-fledged political party run on democratic and business principles. The aim is to counter-act the party's radical reputation and attract funds in preparation for the 1999 general elections.

22 September 1996

The sale of six state-owned provincial radio stations has realized R520 million, to be spent on reducing state debt, new infrastructure and promoting black economic empowerment. These plans are opposed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which wants the money to fund its transformation into a public service broadcasting in all eleven official languages.

26 September 1996

Approval is given by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee for the sale of arms to Rwanda. Only 'defensive arms' are said to be involved. Nevertheless the decision is widely criticized by human rights groups.

1 October 1996

Inkatha agrees to return to the Constitutional Assembly, after an eighteen-month absence, but withdraws again on 7 October 1996, indicating it is considering reviving its demand for international mediation.

11 October 1996

The Constitutional Assembly approves final amendments to the new Constitution. The changes are approved by 369 votes to one, with eight abstentions.

The seven-month trial of former Defence Minister, General Magnus Malan, ends. Malan and other former military officials are cleared of all charges relating to the murder of thirteen people in KwaMakutha in 1987.

17 October 1996

President Mandela vows 'to leave no stone unturned' in finding the truth behind the air crash ten years before that killed Mozambtcan leader Samora Machel. Judge Cecil Margo, who headed the official inquiry at the time, says it would be possible to reopen the investigation but only if new evidence is produced.

21 October 1996

Before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, General Johan van den Merwe, National Police Commissioner 1990-1995, admits that he gave the order in 1988 for the police to blow up the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches. He claims that Adrian Vlok, then Minister of Law and Order gave the instructions and that these had emanated from President P.W. Botha (1984-1989).

South African Security agent Craig Williamson, on his return to South Africa, denies involvement in the assassination of Prime Minister OlofPalme in Stockholm in 1986. Swedish investigators have been in South Africa looking into any possible South African connection. The Swedish Foreign Minister, on a visit to Cape Town, reveals that her government gave about $400m. in humanitarian assistance to opponenets of apartheid, much of it to the ANC.

23 October 1996

President Mandela confirms the appointment of Ismail Mahomed as Chief Justice to succeed Michael Corbett in 1997. The appointment is made on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which is reported to have voted 15-1 in favour of Mahomed. Mandela had earlier broken with tradition when he expressed his support for Mahomed before the JSC had made its recommendations.

29 October 1996

The South African Schools Bill is approved by the National Assembly by 232 votes to 71.

30 October 1996

Former Police Colonel Eugene de Kock is sentenced to life imprisonment twice over for murder and conspiracy to murder.

31 October 1996

The National Assembly passes legislation providing for abortion on demand within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and for terminations to be permitted under specified conditions up to the twentieth week of pregnancy. The changes are opposed by Christian and Muslim groups.

4 November 1996

The Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu, threatens to resign from the Commission of the ANC refuses to seek amnesty for its past human rights abuses. On 10 November he meets a senior ANC delegation who agrees that anti-apartheid activists will appply for amnesty, although 'reconciliation does not require that we should deny or trample upon the moral legitimacy and validity' of their struggle.

Free State Provincial Premier Patrick 'Terror' Lekota and the entire provincial Executive Committee agree to resign following allegations of corruption and nepotism. On 20 November 1996 Deputy President Mbeki endorses Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as Lekota's successor.

12 November 1996

A memorandum of understanding on military cooperation has been signed between Malaysia and South Africa. Malaysian Defence Minister D.S.H. Alban confirms in Pretoria that talks on the purchase and production of helicopters have been held.

14 November 1996

The National Conventional Arms Control Committee discusses a White Paper on arms sales to foreign countries. The proposed legislation is aimed at curbing illegal arms deal trading.

President Mandela announces that Patrick Lekota will be 'redeployed' to the Senate. It is believed he will be appointed to a ministerial post.

21 November 1996

Former President P.W. Botha declares he will never apologize for apartheid and denounces what he calls the 'fierce unforgiving assault on the Afrikaner' by the new government.

27 November 1996

President Nelson Mandela announces that South Africa is to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish full diplomatic relations with China, with effect from the end of December 1997. Taiwan expresses regret at the decision and calls on South Africa to reconsider.

4 December 1996

Taiwanese Foreign Minister John Chang Hsiaoyen visits South Africa and holds talks with President Mandela. The President insists South Africa is keen to maintain relations with Taiwan at the highest level short of diplomatic ties.

5 December 1996

The Taiwanese Foreign Minister announces the recall of the Taiwanese Ambassador and the immediate suspension of most Taiwanese aid projects, as well as most of the thirty six treaties and agreements between the two countries.

9 December 1996

General Holomisa announces that he is abandoning a Supreme Court action aimed at forcing the ANC to reinstate him as a member and will instead organize a national conference to consider the formation of a new party.

10 December 1996

President Mandela signs the new Constitution. It incorporates the broad principles of the existing Interim Constitution adopted in 1993 together with amendments and revisions. Analysts declare it one of the most liberal in the world.

12 December 1996

The ANC confirms it has forwarded 300 applications from its members to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and expects to submit at least another sixty, including those of three Cabinet ministers. The PAC announced that at least 600 of its members, including the 'high command' of its armed wing APLA, have applied. No high-ranking IFP members are known to have applied.

13 December 1996

President Mandela extends both the cut-off date for amnesty applications and the deadline for applications to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Amnesty may now be sought for political crimes carried out up to 10 May 1994, the date of his inauguration as President. Applications to the TRC may now be made up to 10 May 1997.

16 December - 17 December 1996

Running battles break out between police and PAGAD protestors in Cape Town.

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