CODESA I - Declaration of Intent

21 December 1991

We, the duly authorised representatives of political parties, political organisations, administrations and the South African Government, coming together at this first meeting of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), mindful of the awesome responsibility that rests on us at this moment in the history of our country, declare our solemn commitment:

1. to bring about an undivided South Africa with one nation sharing a common citizenship, patriotism and loyalty, pursuing amidst our diversity, freedom, equality and security for all irrespective of race, colour, sex or creed; a country free from apartheid or any other form of discrimination or domination;

2. to work to heal the divisions of the past, to secure the advancement of all, and to establish a free and open society based on democratic values where the dignity, worth and rights of every South African are protected by law;

3. to strive to improve the quality of life of our people through policies that will promote economic growth and human development and ensure equal opportunities and social justice for all South Africans;

4. to create a climate conducive to peaceful constitutional change by eliminating violence, intimidation and destabilisation and by promoting free political participation, discussion and debate;

5. to set in motion the process of drawing up and establishing a constitution that will ensure, inter alia:

(a) that South Africa will be a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist state in which sovereign authority is exercised over the whole of its territory

(b) that the Constitution will be the supreme law and that it will be guarded over by an independent, non-racial and impartial judiciary;

(c) that there will be a multi-party democracy with the right to form and join political parties and with regular elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage on a common voters roll; in general the basic electoral system, shall be that of proportional representation;

(d) that there shall be a separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary with appropriate checks and balances;

(e) that the diversity of languages, cultures and religions of the people of South Africa shall be acknowledged;

(f) that all shall enjoy universally accepted human rights, freedoms and civil liberties including freedom of religion, speech and assembly protected by an entrenched and justiciable Bill of Rights and a legal system that guarantees equality of all before the law.


1. that the present and future participants shall be entitled to put forward freely to the Convention any proposal consistent with democracy.

2. that CODESA will establish a mechanism whose task it will be, in co-operation with administrations and the South African Government, to draft the texts of all legislation required to give effect to the agreements reached in CODESA.

We, the representatives of political parties, political organisations and administrations, further solemnly commit ourselves to be bound by the agreements of CODESA and in good faith to take all such steps as are within our power and authority to realise implementation.


African National Congress                                                   National Party

Ciskei Government                                                             National People's Party

Democratic Party                                                               Solidarity

Dikwenkwentla Party                                                          South African Communist Party

Inyanda National Movement                                                Transkei Government

Intando Yesizwe party                                                        United People's Front

Labour Party South Africa                                                   Venda Government

Natal/Transvaal Indian Congress                                          Ximoko Progressive Party

We, the South African Government, declare ourselves to be bound by agreements we reach together with other participants in CODESA in accordance with the standing rules and hereby commit ourselves to the implementation thereof within our capacity, powers and authority.

Signed by Mr F. W. de Klerk for the South African Government Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica. Ons vir jou Suid-Afrika. Morena boloka sechaba sa heso. May the Lord bless our country. Mudzimu. Fhatushedza Africa. Hosi katekisa Africa.

Last updated : 13-Jun-2011

This article was produced by South African History Online on 30-Mar-2011

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