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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Convention For A Democratic South Africa (CODESA)

A negotiating forum called CODESA was set up in 1991 after an agreement, the National Peace Accord, signed by the government and 18 other political organizations. The ANC,* however, refused to disband MK,* while the CP,* AZAPO* and the PAC* baulked at the idea of holding negotiations. Notwithstanding this, CODESA 1 held its first session in December 1991 at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park. A declaration of intent, outlining the principles of the proposed new democratic South Africa was signed and five working groups were appointed to look into issues such as the principles of a new constitution, arrangements for an interim government and the future of the homelands.* Early in 1992 a referendum among whites indicated that more than two-thirds of white voters favoured the negotiations for a democratic constitution but talks at CODESA 2 broke down in May 1992 over the major issues of majority rule and power sharing. It appeared that the process was doomed to fail and the ANC, SACP* and COSATU* launched mass action campaigns in August. Violence erupted, notably at Boipatong near Vanderbijlpark where 15 people were killed. Behind-the-scenes meetings in September 1992 between cabinet minister Roelf Meyer and the ANC's Cyril Ramaphosa managed to get negotiations back on track, leading to the Multi-Party Negotiating Forum* (MPNF) which began its deliberations in April 1993.

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.