Ebrahim notes that it is generally accepted that the latter view is the most accurate. Therefore, this article uses an artificial division between Codesa 1 and Codesa 2. Codesa 1 was the first sitting of a formal multiparty negotiation forum to negotiate the principles of a new constitution and the composition of an interim or transitional power to manage the transitional period. It dealt with substantive matters rather than merely eliminating obstacles to negotiation.

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Ebrahim notes that it is generally accepted that the latter view is the most accurate. Therefore, this article uses an artificial division between Codesa 1 and Codesa 2. Codesa 1 was the first sitting of a formal multiparty negotiation forum to negotiate the principles of a new constitution and the composition of an interim or transitional power to manage the transitional period. It dealt with substantive matters rather than merely eliminating obstacles to negotiation.

Two important issues for the convention were constitutional principles for a new constitution and an interim power, as well as the lead up to a constituent assembly which would write up the final constitution. Codesa 1 generated hope but also took place in a period marked by uncertainty, mass action and increasing violence, violence involving the government and the security forces, the African National Congress ANC , and the Inkatha Freedom Party IFP.

It is important for one to look not only at the participants of Codesa 1 but also at the significance of those parties or organisations which did not attend and those who were completely against the convention or negotiation.

However, the IFP delegation remained. Another important feature of Codesa 1 and its build up was the larger role played by the ANC and the NP government in influencing negotiations and decision making, and the unhappiness this produced in some of the smaller parties.

The declaration symbolized a recognition by African leaders that negotiation was a possible option for bringing about change. Furthermore, then ANC president Oliver Tambo invested a great deal of energy in lobbying African governments to support the declaration. The OAU believed that the circumstances on the ground were such that, if the South African government played its part, negotiations could take place to end apartheid. The declaration called for South Africans to get together to negotiate and to agree on measures to transform the country into a non-racial democracy.

The outcomes of such negotiations were to be a new constitutional order based on a set of principles. It also consisted of guidelines for the process of negotiation. Negotiations were to establish the basis for the adoption of a new constitution by agreeing on the mentioned principles. After agreeing on these principles, the parties were to negotiate the mechanism for drawing up the new constitution. The negotiating parties would have to agree on the role of the international community in ensuring a successful transition to a democratic order.

They would need to agree on the formation of an interim government to supervise the process of the drawing up and adoption of a new constitution; govern and administer the country, and effect the transition to a democratic state, including the holding of elections.

During the Cold war, the superpowers sought spheres of influence globally and on the African continent. The apartheid government made use of this geopolitical context to defend apartheid and quell resistance. South Africa was being protected from communism and this narrative would sit well with the United States and Britain. Bills would have to be passed in both houses, but would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Therefore, the executive would also be able to block attempts at socio-economic restructuring.

The council would then decide by a two-thirds majority, which of conflicting versions of a bill coming from the two Houses of parliament should become law.

This would result in a veto over the popular will in the House of Representatives. South Africa would have a system of one person one vote, but the parliamentary chamber elected by this system would not be able to change anything.

The question then was around who would negotiate the new constitution. President De Klerk wanted it to be done by a convention of all existing political organizations, as opposed to an elected constituent assembly. De Klerk believed that the NP and its allies would be reduced to minority status in a popular vote for a constituent assembly while the ANC would be able to win a majority, thereby allowing it to write a majority-rule constitution.

Furthermore, given the presence of the old homeland parties, it would result in the co-opting of the ANC into a national forum of selected black leaders to discuss the country with the NP government.

The ANC argued that to have legitimacy, the new constitution needed to be written by representatives of the people, determined by an election. These opposing visions made it difficult for negotiations to begin, in addition to the removal of obstacles to negotiations. This presented a basis for compromise, there would be the multi-party convention that the NP was advocating. This convention would then negotiate an interim constitution under which a one person one vote elections would be held for a constituent assembly, as the ANC wanted.

This assembly would then negotiate the final constitution. The constituent assembly would be able to draft the final constitution without restrictions; however, it would be bound by principles laid down by the multi-party convention, including the requirement of special majorities on certain issues.

Besides justifying the funding on the basis that the programmes were initiated while the ANC was still banned; De Klerk stated that the government had no desire to be both player and referee of the transition. Furthermore, on the question of transitional measures, he confirmed the need for transitional measures to solve this problem [xxi].

I have an open mind on alternative methods. However, any steps in this connection have to result from negotiation. As far as I am concerned, they may be the first item on the agenda of a multiparty congress. It wanted to capitalize on this weakness by speeding up the process of consultation towards the formation of a patriotic front, as well as to move quickly towards an all-party congress to obtain as many compromises from the government as possible.

The ANC then shifted its attention to these issues at hand. Cosatu was in opposition to this move because it would affect the poor the most. A strike would held on 4 and 5 November. The president then went on to criticize the desire for sanctions and mass action, strikes, boycotts and protests. During this period, right-wing anger against the government was increasing coupled by increased support for the Conservative Party CP.

Furthermore, political violence had escalated after the signing of the National Peace Accord and this fed into pressures on De Klerk. Therefore, despite criticisms being publicly voiced on both sides, ANC and NP delegations began meeting for confidential bilateral talks.

This resulted in a secret pact between the two parties, which Anthea Jeffery argues paved the way for the multi-party negotiations which took place in December The existence of this secret pact came to public attention when the minutes of a confidential meeting between the ANC and the frontline states were leaked to the PAC.

Both planned to participate in an interim authority which would have control over elections, security, the electronic media, finance, and foreign affairs. Furthermore, both parties were then in agreement that a preparatory conference should be held to pave the way for multi-party talks. However, it also included some black political structures that had collaborated with the NP government. A declaration was created from this meeting, outlining a joint program for a negotiated transfer of power.

At minimum, the interim government should control the security forces, the electoral process, state media, relevant areas of the budget and finance, and secure international participation.

The Patriotic Front believed that only a constituent assembly, elected on a one person one vote basis in a united South Africa, could draft and adopt a democratic constitution. They also agreed upon the conduct of members attending such a congress. These consultations brought about the agreement that the negotiations be scheduled for 29 and 30 November Furthermore, the consultations decided upon the agenda for the meeting including: a climate of free political participation, general constitutional principles, the constitution-making body, an interim government, the future of the TBVC Transkei , Bophuthatswana , Venda , Ciskei states, the role of the international community, and time frames.

The government feared that the Patriotic front would gain the upper hand in negotiations. According to Ebrahim, this was the first time since the commencement of negotiations in that the government came to terms with the reality that it may have to give up the power it had enjoyed since A broad agreement was made that all parties represented in parliament, including the leadership of homeland governments and independent territories, ought to be present.

Gerrit Viljoen was mandated to negotiate on their behalf. An interesting feature of this meeting was the presence of black leaders and some leaders who, except for Mangosuthu Buthelezi , were founding members of the Patriotic Front.

That also explains why no government structures were used for the negotiations. It was decided that the meeting be convened by Chief Justice Mr. Its national conference decided that the multi-party talks needed to be held outside of the country under an independent body, and threatened to withdraw their participation if their demand was not met.

Agreement was finally reached on the 20th of November, when the government, ANC, and IFP jointly announced that the negotiations had been rescheduled to the 20th and 21st of December An agreement was reached in the steering committee that the government would attend the talks as a separate delegate to the NP. The IFP objected to partisan church leaders being appointed as co-chairmen of the proceedings and it was thus agreed that both the preparatory and subsequent conferences would be chaired by judges Petrus Schabort and Ismail Mahomed.

Nine homeland parties or military councils representing all the homelands except KwaZulu were included. KwaZulu was considered adequately represented by the IFP.

Cosatu was excluded on grounds that it was a trade union. A decision-making agenda was agreed to. There were now 19 participants left in the negotiating process. According to Jeffery , three were clearly part of the ANC alliance, while at least nine tricameral and homeland leaders would find it difficult to withstand pressure from the ANC. Thus, the ANC stood to control 12 out of 19 votes then the multi-party talks began. However, for the PAC this was because no real negotiations were taking place at all.

They argued that the secret pact had already been made and all details of importance had been agreed upon before by the ANC and the NP. Furthermore, none of the other parties present could resist pressure from these two parties. By the second week of December the presence of high level national and international observers had been announced. By this time, both the ANC and the NP had produced their draft proposals on the declaration of intent, which became controversial. They were thus unwilling to accept a clause giving Codesa the power to draft legislation to be rubber-stamped by parliament.

However, Mandela warned that progress in the convention would depend on the decisions of Codesa being backed by the force of law. The government, on the other hand, was not willing to compromise the sovereignty of parliament. This issue was finally dealt with in a late-night bilateral meeting between the two parties on 18 December. The government agreed that Codesa could draft the legislation needed to give effect to the decisions made in the convention, and promised to do everything in its power to have these decisions implemented.

Inkatha had not accepted the Harare Declaration of , and as the ANC increased pressure for an interim administration and elected constituent assembly, the IFP objected. The IFP desired a federal system which would divert power away from the centre, and many of its concerns were similar to those of the NP. However, by the time Codesa began on 20 December , both parties had further blemishes by political violence, and prospects of collaboration between them had been frustrated.

However, Inkatha greed that it would still attend as a party. The white right wing also felt threatened by the developments. The only party represented in parliament that did not attend these talks was the CP.

Party leader, Andries Treurnicht , argued that the demise of the demise of the Soviet Union confirmed that nationalism was the strongest historical trend of the era.

He then went on to warn South Africans who were striving for a unitary state of undivided South Africans, to come to their senses and to recognize the rights of people to self-determination. He proposed that this could be done by guaranteeing a block of white seats in the post-apartheid parliament for a limited period. However, such a compromise was subject to the fact that the ANC was not prepared to compromise on the principle of majority rule.


The O’Malley Archives

January The IFP publishes its constitutional principles. The committee would later recommend a transitional executive council TEC representing all parties at Codesa. It proposes that Codesa decide on general constitutional principles and agree to an interim constitution which would allow for a single-chambered, directly elected constitution-making body, acting as an interim legislature. On the same day Working Group 3 reaches an agreement on all issues falling under its mandate and produces its final report for ratification by the plenary of Codesa 2.


Negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa

This year marks the 20 year anniversary of that important event. In accordance with the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, records in the custody of the National Archives must be made publically available after a period of 20 years has elapsed since the end of the year the records came into existence. Accordingly, from January documents held by the National Archives which relate to CODESA shall be publicly available, presenting an important opportunity for researchers and others interested in knowing more about the event. Negotiations to end the apartheid system began in , starting with the release of Nelson Mandela and some political prisoners from Robben Island prison. De Klerk was the state president at the time and a leader of the National Party which engineered apartheid. He has been hailed as instrumental in setting a favourable climate under which such negotiations could take place to bring apartheid to an end. The apartheid regime lasted 46 years in total, leaving behind a trail of destruction that is still felt to this day.


Afterwards an Addendum was added. By way of this solemn agreement the subscribing parties committed themselves to bringing about a democratic South Africa with a new constitution. All Parties were represented in each of the Working Groups. The terms of reference can be summarised as follows: 3.

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