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The
apartheid Apartheid (South African English: ; , segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid wa ...
system in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
was ended through a series of negotiations between 1990 and 1993 and through unilateral steps by the de Klerk government. These
negotiation Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issues. Negotiation is an interaction and process ...
s took place between the governing National Party, the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
, and a wide variety of other political organisations. Negotiations took place against a backdrop of political violence in the country, including allegations of a state-sponsored third force destabilising the country. The negotiations resulted in South Africa's first non-racial
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office.African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
.


Background

Apartheid was a system of
racial discrimination Racial discrimination is any discrimination against any individual on the basis of their skin color, or racial or ethnic origin. Individuals can discriminate by refusing to do business with, socialize with, or share resources with people of a cert ...
and
segregationSegregation may refer to: Separation of people * Geographical segregation, rates of two or more populations which are not homogenous throughout a defined space *Educational segegration * Housing segregation * Racial segregation, separation of huma ...
in South African government. It was formalised in 1948, forming a framework for political and economic dominance by the
white White is the lightest color and is achromatic (having no hue). It is the color of fresh snow, chalk and milk, and is the opposite of black. White objects fully reflect and scatter all the visible wavelengths of light. White on television and ...
population and severely restricting the political rights of the
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light. It is an achromatic color, without hue, like white and gray. It is often used symbolically or figuratively to represent darkness. Black and white have ofte ...
majority. Between 1960 and 1990, the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
and other mainly black opposition political organisations were banned. As the National Party cracked down on black opposition to apartheid, most leaders of ANC and other opposition organisations were either killed, imprisoned or went into exile. However, increasing local and international pressure on the government, as well as the realisation that apartheid could neither be maintained by force forever nor overthrown by the opposition without considerable suffering, eventually led both sides to the negotiating table. The Tripartite Accord, which brought an end to the
South African Border War The South African Border War, also known as the Namibian War of Independence, and sometimes denoted in South Africa as the Angolan Bush War, was a largely asymmetric conflict that occurred in Namibia (then South West Africa), Zambia, and Angola ...
in neighbouring Angola and Namibia, created a window of opportunity to create the enabling conditions for a negotiated settlement, recognized by Dr
Niel Barnard Lukas Daniel Barnard (born 1949), known as Niël Barnard, is a former head of South Africa's National Intelligence Service and was notable for his behind-the-scenes role in preparing Nelson Mandela and South African presidents P.W. Botha and F. W. ...
of the National Intelligence Service.


Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith

On 4 January 1974,
Harry Schwarz Harry Heinz Schwarz (13 May 1924 – 5 February 2010) was a South African lawyer, statesman and long-time political opposition leader against apartheid in South Africa, who eventually served as the South African Ambassador to the United States du ...
, leader of the liberal-reformist wing of the United Party, met with Gatsha (later Mangosuthu) Buthelezi, Chief Executive Councillor of the black homeland of
KwaZulu KwaZulu was a semi-independent bantustan in South Africa, intended by the apartheid government as a homeland for the Zulu people. The capital was moved from Nongoma to Ulundi in 1980. It was led until its abolition in 1994 by Chief Mangosuthu ...
, and signed a five-point plan for racial peace in South Africa, which came to be known as the
Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith was a statement of core principles laid down by South African political leaders Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Harry Schwarz on 4 January 1974. It was signed in Mahlabatini, KwaZulu-Natal, hence its name. Its purpose w ...
. The declaration stated that "the situation of South Africa in the world scene as well as internal community relations requires, in our view, an acceptance of certain fundamental concepts for the economic, social and constitutional development of our country". It called for negotiations involving all peoples, in order to draw up constitutional proposals stressing opportunity for all with a
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against infringement from public officials and priva ...
to safeguard these rights. It suggested that the federal concept was the appropriate framework for such changes to take place. It also affirmed that political change must take place through non-violent means. The declaration was the first of such agreements by acknowledged black and white political leaders in South Africa that affirmed to these principles. The commitment to the peaceful pursuit of political change was declared at a time when neither the National Party nor the African National Congress was looking to peaceful solutions or dialogue. The declaration was heralded by the English speaking press as a breakthrough in race relations in South Africa. Shortly after it was issued, the declaration was endorsed by several chief ministers of the black homelands, including
Cedric Phatudi Dr Cedric Namedi Phatudi (27 May 1912 – 7 October 1987) was the Chief Minister of Lebowa, one of the South African bantustans. Early life Born in Ga-Mphahlele, Phatudi grew up around the area that later became the capital of the homeland he l ...
(
Lebowa Lebowa was a bantustan ("homeland") located in the Transvaal in northeastern South Africa. Seshego initially acted as Lebowa's capital while the purpose-built Lebowakgomo was being constructed. Granted internal self-government on 2 October 197 ...
),
Lucas Mangope Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope (27 December 1923 – 18 January 2018) was the leader of the Bantustan (homeland) of Bophuthatswana. The territory he ruled over was distributed between the Orange Free State - what is now Free State (province) - and Nor ...
(
Bophuthatswana Bophuthatswana (, meaning "gathering of the Tswana people"), officially the Republic of Bophuthatswana ( tn, Riphaboliki ya Bophuthatswana; af, Republiek van Bophuthatswana), was a Bantustan (also known as "Homeland"; an area set aside for member ...
) and Hudson Nisanwisi (
Gazankulu Gazankulu was a bantustan in South Africa, intended by the apartheid government to be a semi-independent homeland for the Tsonga people. It was located in both the Northern Transvaal, now Limpopo province and Eastern Transvaal, now Mpumalanga pr ...
). Despite considerable support from black leaders, the English speaking press and liberal figures such as
Alan Paton Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist. His works include the novels ''Cry, the Beloved Country'' and ''Too Late the Phalarope''. Family Paton was born in Pietermaritzburg i ...

Alan Paton
, the declaration saw staunch opposition from the National Party, the Afrikaans press and the conservative wing of Harry Schwarz's United Party.


Early contact

The very first meetings between the South African Government and
Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's firs ...

Nelson Mandela
were driven by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) under the leadership of
Niel Barnard Lukas Daniel Barnard (born 1949), known as Niël Barnard, is a former head of South Africa's National Intelligence Service and was notable for his behind-the-scenes role in preparing Nelson Mandela and South African presidents P.W. Botha and F. W. ...
and his Deputy Director General,
Mike Louw Mike is a masculine given name. It is also encountered as an abbreviation or shorthand for Michael. Notable people with the name include: People * Mike Adenuga, Nigerian billionaire businessman * Mike Affleck, American football player * Mike Ak ...
. These meetings were secret in nature and were designed to develop an understanding about whether there were sufficient common grounds for future peace talks. As these meetings evolved, a level of trust developed between the key actors (Barnard, Louw, and Mandela). To facilitate future talks while preserving secrecy needed to protect the process, Barnard arranged for Mandela to be moved off
Robben Island Robben Island ( af, Robbeneiland) is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 kilometres (4.3 mi) west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, north of Cape Town, South Africa. It takes its name from the Dutch word for seals (''robben''), hence the Dutch/Afrikaa ...
to
Pollsmoor Prison Pollsmoor Prison, officially known as Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison, is located in the Cape Town suburb of Tokai in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was one of the most famous people imprisoned there. He described Pollsmoor Prison as "the truth o ...
in 1982. This provided Mandela with more comfortable lodgings, but also gave easier access in a way that could not be compromised. Barnard therefore brokered an initial agreement in principle about what became known as "talks about talks". It was at this stage that the process was elevated from a secret engagement to a more public engagement. The first less-tentative meeting between Mandela and the National Party government came while P. W. Botha was
State President The State President of the Republic of South Africa ( af, Staatspresident) was the head of state of South Africa from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be monarc ...
. In November 1985, Minister
Kobie Coetsee Hendrik Jacobus Coetsee (19 April 1931 – 29 July 2000), known as Kobie Coetsee, was a South African lawyer, National Party politician and administrator as well as a negotiator during the country's transition to universal democracy. Biography ...
met Mandela in the hospital while Mandela was being treated for prostate surgery. Over the next four years, a series of tentative meetings took place, laying the groundwork for further contact and future negotiations, but little real progress was made, and the meetings remained secret until several years later. As the secret talks bore fruit and the political engagement started to take place, the National Intelligence Service withdrew from centre stage in the process, and moved to a new phase of operational support work. This new phase was designed to test public opinion about a negotiated solution. Central to this planning was an initiative that became known in Security Force circles as the Dakar Safari, which saw a number of prominent Afrikaner opinion-makers engage with the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
in Dakar, Senegal and
Leverkusen Leverkusen (, ) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on the eastern bank of the Rhine. To the south, Leverkusen borders the city of Cologne and to the north is the state capital Düsseldorf. With about 161,000 inhabitants, Leverkusen is on ...
, Germany at events organized by the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa. The operational objective of this meeting was not to understand the opinions of the actors themselves—that was very well known at this stage within strategic management circles—but rather to gauge public opinion about a movement away from the previous security posture of confrontation and repression to a new posture based on engagement and accommodation.


Unbanning of opposition organisations and the release of Mandela

When F.W. de Klerk became President in 1989, he was able to build on the previous secret negotiations with the imprisoned Mandela. The first significant steps towards formal negotiations took place in February 1990 when, in his speech at the opening of Parliament, de Klerk announced the repeal of the ban on the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
(ANC) and other banned organisations, and the release of ANC leader Nelson Mandela after 27 years in prison.


Initial negotiations


Groote Schuur Minute

The negotiations began with a meeting between the African National Congress and the South African government on 4 May 1990 at the presidential residence,
Groote Schuur Groote Schuur (, Dutch for "big shed") is an estate in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1657, the estate was owned by the Dutch East India Company which used it partly as a granary. Later, the farm and farmhouse was sold into private hands. Groote Sch ...
. This resulted in the ''Groote Schuur Minute'', a commitment between the two parties towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation as well as the removal of practical obstacles to negotiation including immunity from prosecution for returning exiles and the release of political prisoners.


Pretoria Minute

On 6 August 1990 the South African government and the African National Congress extended the consensus to include several new points. This ''Pretoria Minute'' included the suspension of the armed struggle by the ANC and its military wing
Umkhonto we Sizwe#REDIRECT UMkhonto we Sizwe#REDIRECT UMkhonto we Sizwe {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move ...
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move ...
as well as bring the state of emergency to an end.


National Peace Accord

The ''National Peace Accord'' of 14 September 1991 was a critical step toward formal negotiations. It was signed by representatives of twenty-seven political organisations and national and homeland governments, and prepared the way for the CODESA negotiations.


CODESA I

The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), under the chairmanship of the judges Michael Corbett, Petrus Shabort and Ismail Mahomed, began with a plenary session on 20 December 1991, almost two years after the unbanning of political parties and the release of Nelson Mandela. The first session lasted a few days, and working groups were appointed to deal with specific issues. These working groups continued their negotiations over the next month. The negotiations took place at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park.


CODESA participants

Nineteen groups were represented at CODESA, including the South African government, the National Party, the
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
, the
Inkatha Freedom Party The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is a political party in South Africa. The party has been led by Velenkosini Hlabisa since the party's 2019 National General Conference. Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded the party in 1975 and led it until 2019. The IFP ...
, the Democratic Party, the
South African Communist Party The South African Communist Party (SACP) is a communist party in South Africa. It was founded in 1921, was declared illegal in 1950 by the governing National Party, and participated in the struggle to end the apartheid system. It is a partner o ...
, the
South African Indian Congress The South African Indian Congress (SAIC) was an organisation founded in 1921 in Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa. The congress is famous for its strong participation by Mahatma Gandhi and other prominent South African Indian figures during t ...
, the Coloured Labour Party, the Indian National People's Party and Solidarity Party, and the leaders of the nominally independent
bantustans A Bantustan (also known as Bantu homeland, black homeland, black state or simply homeland; ) was a territory that the National Party administration of South Africa set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (now Nami ...
of
Transkei Transkei (, meaning ''the area beyond he riverKei''), officially the Republic of Transkei ( xh, iRiphabliki yeTranskei), was an unrecognised state in the southeastern region of South Africa from 1976 to 1994. It was a Bantustan—an area set asid ...
,
Ciskei Ciskei (, or ) was a nominally independent state – a Bantustan – in the south east of South Africa. It covered an area of , almost entirely surrounded by what was then the Cape Province, and possessed a small coastline along the shor ...
,
Bophuthatswana Bophuthatswana (, meaning "gathering of the Tswana people"), officially the Republic of Bophuthatswana ( tn, Riphaboliki ya Bophuthatswana; af, Republiek van Bophuthatswana), was a Bantustan (also known as "Homeland"; an area set aside for member ...
and
Venda Venda () was a Bantustan in northern South Africa, which is fairly close to the South African border with Zimbabwe to the north, while to the south and east, it shared a long border with another black homeland, Gazankulu. It is now part of the ...
. The right-wing white Conservative Party and the left-wing
Pan Africanist Congress The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (formerly known as the Pan Africanist Congress, abbreviated as the PAC) is a South African Pan-Africanist movement that is now a political party. It was founded by an Africanist group, led by Robert Sobukwe, ...
boycotted CODESA. Inkatha Freedom Party leader
Mangosuthu Buthelezi Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi (born 27 August 1928) is a South African politician and Zulu tribal leader who founded what became the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975, and was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan until 1994. He was Minister ...
personally didn't participate because his demands for additional delegations of the homeland
KwaZulu KwaZulu was a semi-independent bantustan in South Africa, intended by the apartheid government as a homeland for the Zulu people. The capital was moved from Nongoma to Ulundi in 1980. It was led until its abolition in 1994 by Chief Mangosuthu ...
and the Zulu king
Goodwill Zwelithini King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu (14 July 1948 – 12 March 2021) was the reigning King of the Zulu nation from 1968 to his death. He became King on the passing on of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, in 1968. Prince Israel Mcwayizeni ac ...
were declined. The IFP was therefore represented by Frank Mdlalose at CODESA. In the period between CODESA I and CODESA II in early 1992, the National Party lost three by-elections to the Conservative Party. De Klerk announced that a "whites only"
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a new ...
would be held on the issue of reforms and negotiation. The result was a landslide victory for the "yes" side, with over 68% of the voters voting for a continuation of the reforms and negotiations.


CODESA II and the breakdown of negotiations

CODESA II (the second plenary session) took place in May 1992. In June 1992, the Boipatong massacre took place, with 45 residents of
Boipatong Boipatong Vanderbijlpark is a township in Gauteng, South Africa. It was established in 1955 to house black residents who worked in Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging. Boipatong means "the place of hiding" in the Sesotho language. Boipatong's expansion ...
killed by mainly-Zulu hostel dwellers. Mandela accused De Klerk's government of complicity in the attack and withdrew the ANC from the negotiations, leading to the end of CODESA II. The ANC instead took to the streets with a programme of "rolling mass action", which met with tragedy in the Bisho massacre in September 1992, when the army of the nominally independent "bantustan, homeland" of
Ciskei Ciskei (, or ) was a nominally independent state – a Bantustan – in the south east of South Africa. It covered an area of , almost entirely surrounded by what was then the Cape Province, and possessed a small coastline along the shor ...
opened fire on protest marchers, killing 29. This brought a new urgency to the search for a political settlement.


Resumption of negotiations

During the negotiations, De Klerk's government pushed for a two-phase transition with an appointed transitional government with a rotating presidency. The ANC pushed instead for a transition in a single stage to majority rule. Other sticking points included minority rights, decisions on a unitary or federal state, property rights, and indemnity from prosecution for politically motivated crimes. Following the collapse of CODESA II, bilateral negotiations between the ANC and the NP became the main negotiation channel. Two key negotiators were Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC, and Roelf Meyer of the National Party, who formed a close friendship. It was Joe Slovo, leader of the
South African Communist Party The South African Communist Party (SACP) is a communist party in South Africa. It was founded in 1921, was declared illegal in 1950 by the governing National Party, and participated in the struggle to end the apartheid system. It is a partner o ...
, who in 1992 proposed the breakthrough "sunset clause" for a coalition government for the five years following a democratic election, including guarantees and concessions to all sides. In the course of the negotiating and reshaping process, the government under De Klerk also had detainees released who were classified as political prisoners at that time. Among those released in 1992 were convicts facing capital punishment such as Barend Strydom and Robert McBride (police officer), Robert McBride from opposite ends of the political spectrum.


Record of understanding

On 26 September 1992 the government and the ANC agreed on a ''Record of Understanding''. This dealt with a constitutional assembly, an interim government, political prisoners, hostels, dangerous weapons and mass action and restarted the negotiation process after the failure of CODESA.


Multiparty Negotiating Forum

On 1 April 1993 the ''Multiparty Negotiating Forum'' (MPNF) gathered for the first time. In contrast to CODESA, the white right (the Conservative Party and the Afrikaner Volksunie), the Pan Africanist Congress, the KwaZulu homeland government and delegations of "traditional leaders" initially participated in the Multiparty Negotiating Forum. Following the Record of Understanding, the two main negotiating parties, the ANC and the NP, agreed to reach bilateral consensus on issues before taking them to the other parties in the forum. This put considerable pressure on the other parties to agree with the consensus or be left behind. In protest at the perceived sidelining of the mainly-Zulu people, Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP),
Mangosuthu Buthelezi Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi (born 27 August 1928) is a South African politician and Zulu tribal leader who founded what became the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975, and was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan until 1994. He was Minister ...
took the IFP out of the MPNF and formed the ''Concerned South Africans Group'' (COSAG; later renamed the "Freedom Alliance") together with traditional leaders, homeland leaders and white right-wing groups. A period of brinkmanship followed, with the IFP remaining out of the negotiations until within days of the election on 27 April 1994. Buthelezi was convinced to give up the boycott of the elections, after Nelson Mandela, Mandela offered the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, a guarantee of special status of the Zulu monarchy, and to Buthelezi, the promise that foreign mediators would examine Inkatha's claims to more autonomy in the Zulu area. This was managed with the help of a foreign team led by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, British Foreign Secretary Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington, Lord Carrington. On 10 April 1993, the assassination of Chris Hani, leader of the SACP and a senior ANC leader, by white right-wingers again brought the country to the brink of disaster, but ultimately proved a turning point, after which the main parties pushed for a settlement with increased determination. The Chris Hani#Assassination, assassination of Hani sometimes is considered as an event which led to a shift of power in favour of the ANC because of Nelson Mandela's handling of the situation. The negotiations were dramatically interrupted in June 1993 when the right-wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging Storming of Kempton Park World Trade Centre, stormed the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park, breaking through the glass front of the building with an armoured car and briefly taking over the negotiations chamber. The MPNF ratified the Interim Constitution (South Africa), interim Constitution in the early hours of the morning of 18 November 1993. Thereafter, the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) oversaw the run-up to a democratic election.


Elections

The election held on 27 April 1994 resulted in the ANC winning 62% of the vote, and Nelson Mandela becoming president, with De Klerk and Thabo Mbeki as deputies. The National Party, with 20% of the vote, joined the ANC in a Government of National Unity.


Aftermath

Transitional politics continued after the election, with a new Constitution of South Africa, constitution finally agreed in 1995, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa), Truth and Reconciliation Commission dealing with politically motivated crimes committed during the apartheid era.


References

{{Nelson Mandela Democratization Events associated with apartheid Negotiation Nelson Mandela Peace processes