To what extent did the new political settlement reached in the years 1992-94 create a fully democratic country?

CODESA Negotiations

  • Started badly - public spat between Mandela and de Klerk
  • In a speech at the opening ceremony, de Klerk opened with the most sensitive topic (publicly condemning the ANC for failing to disband the Mk and remaining committed to violence) 
  • Mandela broke protocol and walked onto the platform during his speech and had the last word
  • However, progress was still made at CODESA
  • There would be a single undivided country, a multi-party democracy, a bill of rights, separation of powers and an end to racial discrimination 
1 of 4

Violence and popular mobilisation

  • CODESA 2 reassembled in 1992 
  • Soon broke down because violence undermined negotiations 
  • Residents of a township were massacred by hostel dwellers (police suspected but not proven) 
  • ANC thought the gov was doing very little to control such violence in the hope that it would divide African communities 
  • ANC believed that they should keep some possibility for armed struggle and that mass demonstration was essential to keep the political initiative 
  • Many African people were getting impatient that negotiations were taking such a long time 
  • Some groups within the ANC thought they should have a more revolutionary approach (topple the gov more than negotiate) 
  • Chris Hani = head of the SACP and MK 
  • Led an ANC organised march of 80,000 people 
  • PAC never suspended armed struggle as a part of negations 
  • Multi-party talks were restored at the start of 1993
  • Aware that this was attracting a lot of international attention 
  • Chris Hanni was assassinated by Right Wing white renegades —> Hani was seen as one of the central figures in the new generation of the ANC and MK leaders 
  • Need for negotiations seemed more urgent —> threats, PAC violence, mass protests and civil conflict in townships = uncontrolled violence and civil war 
2 of 4

Constitutional agreement and elections

  • De Klerk and Mandela received a joint Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 —> Global significance of the fight to end apartheid 
  • Both sides made concessions 
  • It was clear that when all adults were allowed to vote, that the ANC was going to take power 
  • De Klerk wanted an extended transition period where there was a rotating presidency 
  • ANC didn’t want this but compromised because Mandela was eager to maintain peace
  • ANC agreed that white S.A’s wouldn’t be forced to give up their economic gains from the apartheid era
  • 1994 = first democratic election
  •  ANC won 62.6% of the vote 
  • National Party won 20.4% 
  • Support for the PAC was quickly decreasing due to their hostility during the negotiation process, disorganisation and commitment to violence 
3 of 4

The Government of National Unity

  • The ANC victory was expected
  • However, they didn't win 2/3's majority so couldn't make constitutional changes without support from other parties 
  • Mandela became S.A president with de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki as deputies 
  • The compromises meant that SA was experiencing a transition rather than a revolution 
  • Some felt that the whites were still left with too much power and that the change wasn't dramatic enough 
  • ANC could now dismantle the remains of apartheid --> Huge victory
  • Quickly passed a Restitution of Lands Rights Act 
  • Desmond Tutu came up with the idea of a 'rainbow nation' --> People of different identities and colours could live together peacefully 
  • ANC prioritised social spending on housing, schooling, health and welfare
  • Transition to a full democracy ensured acceptance and support from the international community (esp Western democracies) 
  • Investment returned and economic boycotts were stopped, SA could play in sporting events again (hosted world cup in 1995) 
  • Became a member of the African Union 
4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all South Africa resources »