Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA)

CODESA 2 Timeline

January 1992: The IFP publishes its constitutional principles.

08 January 1992: The ANC gives it annual statement.

20 January 1992: 5 Working Groups are constituted and begin their work shortly hereafter.

24 January 1992: The opening of Parliament takes place, and around 20 000 demonstrators gather outside the legislature to hear the ANC’s demands.

18 February 1992: In Working Group 2 on constitutional principles, the ANC agrees to Codesa prescribing the status of regional government under a new constitution.

24 February 1992: De Klerk announces that a referendum will be held on 17 March amongst the white electorate to test their support for the reform process.   

17 March 1992: The Referendum is held, with a majority voting in support of a continuation of negotiations and the reform process.

30 March 1992: The NP agrees on the need to reorganize the SABC.

30 March 1992: With differences emerging, it is agreed that the second Codesa plenary will take place on 15 and 16 May 1992, a little later than originally planned for.

7 April 1992: In Working Group 3 on an Interim Government, a Technical Committee of 11 members was established in order to break a lagging deadlock. The committee would later recommend a transitional executive council (TEC) representing all parties at Codesa.

14 April 1992: In Working Group 2, the ANC accuses the government of “intransigence”.

26 April 1992: The ANC suggests the creation of an independent constitutional panel to make sure that the constitutional principles agreed to at Codesa will be enshrined in the final constitution.

28 April 1992: Working Group 2 produces a report that is regarded by many as a breakthrough. 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.

04 May 1992: A special task group of Codesa unanimously recommended that the TBVC states be reincorporated after testing the will of their citizens.

08 May 1992: In Working Group 2, the ANC and the NP find themselves in a deadlock on the composition of the constitution-making body and the power of a TEC appointed by Codesa.

11 May 1992: The IFP confirms its support for an elected constitution-making body. 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.

13 May 1992: Agreement is reached on the question of regionalism and a two-chambered interim legislature, constitution-making body. All adults would have two votes, one for a regional representative and one for a national representative.

14 May 1992: The Management Committee meets at 4 p.m. It reports that Working Groups 1 (climate for free political activity), 3 (interim government), and 5 (time-frames) had successfully completed their assignment. However, working Group 2 (constitutional principles) remained deadlocked.

15 and 16 May 1992: The second Codesa plenary takes place. No agreements are ratified.

19 May 1992: Senior ANC negotiator, Mohammed Valli Moosa publicly announces that all the ANC’s previous “compromise positions were considered withdrawn”.

26 May 1992: ANC formally withdraws (only) the compromise proposal it had put forward in the closing moments of Codesa 2.

28-31 May 1992: The ANC holds its National Policy Conference. The conference confirms the agreements that were reached at Codesa and provides guidelines for its vision of the process. A new campaign of rolling mass action is decided on, to begin on 16 June 1992.

2 June 1992:  Mass action begins with a strike at Soweto’s Baragwanath Hospital.

15 June 1992: The Management Committee of Codesa meets

16 June 1992: Mass action begins, including a nationwide stay away.

17 June 1992: The Boipatong Massacre takes place, with the death toll later to stand at 45.

18 June 1992: Claims of police involvement in the massacre are made.

21 June 1992: Nelson Mandela addresses a rally of around 20 000 ANC supporters in Boipatong. He blames the government for the massacre and announces that the ANC is breaking off all bilateral talks with the NP.

23 June 1992: The ANC ends all multilateral participation in Codesa. The ANC says that constitutional negotiations are to remain on hold until the government meets a list of 14 demands.

26 June 1992: Mandela publishes a memorandum to De Klerk. It sets out the decision of the NEC of the ANC to end the negotiations, and details the fourteen demands made on the government.

2 July 1992: De Klerk publishes his responding Memorandum to Mandela, in it denying government involvement in the Boipatong Massacre.

15 July 1992: The ANC, SACP and COSATU declare August to be a month of “rolling mass action”.

27 July 1992: the NP meets with the governments of Bophuthatswana and Ciskei, the IFP, the Solidarity Party, the National People’s Party, the Ximoko Progressive Party, and the Dikwankwetla Party to discuss how to get negotiations going again.

August 1992: A special representative of the UN, Cyrus Vance, is sent to visit South Africa, amidst concerns over violence.

20 August 1992: The NP meets with the IFP and the DP around resuming negotiations.

Last updated : 05-May-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 05-May-2017