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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Chronology of Documents and Reports

January 1995

An ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN inviting public views on the constitution is launched.

19 September 1995

The first consolidated DRAFT OF THE CONSTITUTION iS produced.

November 1995

The first REFINED WORKING DRAFT

of the constitution is published. This provides the public with its first glimpse of what the complete text will look like.

15 February 1996

SIXTY-EIGHT OUTSTANDING ISSUES require settlement before the constitution is complete.

14 March 1996

FIVE DEADLOCK ISSUES require agreement: the death penalty, the lockout clause, the clause on education, the appointment of judges, and the Attorney General.

20 March 1996

CONCERN ABOUT COMPLETING THE CONSTITUTION in time is mounting.

The fourth edition of the working draft is produced, and many issues remain unresolved. It is uncertain whether the Constitutional Assembly will be able to complete its work by 8 May 1996, its deadline.

1 3 April 1996

The ARNISTON MULTILATERAL iS

held. This multilateral turns out to be vital in ensuring that parties resolve their differences without the glare of the media. It is extremely successful.

16 April 1996

The CHANNEL BILATERAL between

Cyril Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer is reinstated to find solutions to differences between the ANC and the NP.

22 April 1996

SEVERAL ISSUES REMAIN DEADLOCKED and require agreement: the death penalty, the lockout clause, the property clause, the appointment of judges and the Attorney General, language, local government, the question of proportional representation, and the bar against members of parliament crossing the floor.

23 April 1996

THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION IS TABLED.

The plenary debate to finalize the constitution begins without key outstanding issues being resolved.

25 April 1996

Negotiators table 298 amendments to the final draft text. However, most amendments are of a technical rather than substantial nature.

8 May 1996

THE FINAL TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION IS ADOPTED.

1 July 1996

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT'S HEARING ON CERTIFICATION begins.

6 September 1996

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RE-FUSES TO CERTIFY THE TEXT. The

Court finds that the text does not comply with the required constitutional principles in eight respects. (Schedule of Documents, Document 36)

11 October 1996

The AMENDED TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION IS ADOPTED by the Constitutional Assembly and tabled with the Constitutional Court.

18 November 1996

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT'S SECOND HEARING on certification begins.

4 December 1996

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CERTIFIES THE FINAL TEXT of the constitution. (Schedule of Documents, Document 38)

10 December 1996

THE PRESIDENT, NELSON MANDELA, SIGNS THE FINAL CONSTITUTION

INTO LAW in Sharpeville, Vereeniging. This date also marks International Human Rights Day. The Constitution is to come into effect on 4 February 1997.

17 21 March 1997

This week is named NATIONAL CONSTITUTION WEEK. More than seven million copies of the Constitution are distributed in all eleven languages in a national campaign. This campaign culminates in activities on 21 March 1997, South Africa's national Human Rights Day.

30 April 1997

The CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY CLOSES ITS ADMINISTRATION after accounting for all moneys spent.

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.