CODESA II Talks end in deadlock

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codesa source: www.sahistory.org.za

Saturday, 16 May 1992

The second Convention for a Democratic South Africa, or CODESA II, ends in a deadlock. The negotiating parties ie. The South African Government and the country's liberation movements including the African National Congress (ANC) fail to reach agreement on certain key issues.

CODESA was a negotiating forum created to facilitate a new constitutional dispensation for a post-apartheid South Africa. Established by the end of 1991, it included diverse political representation. Certain political parties decided not to participate, including the Conservative Party (CP), Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). The first sitting of CODESA laid an important foundation for future multiracial talks in South Africa including the setting of a date to finalise the outstanding issues in March 1992. This session came to be called CODESA II. But the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) refused to attend the second plenary session in protest against what it regarded as the disregard for the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini's traditional role as political leader.

CODESA II was delayed for two months and soon reached deadlock. Parties could not reach agreement on an interim government and a constitution. Although there was consensus for Interim Government, parties could not conceptualise what shape this should take. The NP wanted a non-racial Interim Government that would replace CODESA, and consisted of all parties in the cabinet. The ANC proposed an Interim Government that would last for not more than eighteen months and would have a cabinet representing various parties. The bone of contention was on the NP's proposal for a minority veto within such a government. The ANC rejected this proposal of giving minority parties a veto. The ANC maintained that minority parties could become part of a decision-making through a cabinet's decision. Following the stalemate, the US president urged President F.W. de Klerk and ANC leader Nelson Mandela to resume negotiations and resolve the deadlock.

A few months later, talks began again with the Multi-Party Negotiation Process (MPNP), which tried to resolve the problems on which CODESA had failed. A key part of resolving areas of disagreement was the employment of technical experts to assist the negotiation process. Multiracial negotiations continued in 1993 and paved the way for the democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. This time the CP, PAC, Afrikaner Volksunie and the KwaZulu government took part in the discussions.

 

 

References:
•  Brits, J. P. (1995). The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Historical and Political terms. Johannesburg: Penguin.
• SAHO South African Constitution 1996 [online] Availabkle at: www.sahistory.org.za [Accessed on 9 May 2013]

Last updated : 14-May-2015

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011