President F.W. de Klerk promises repeal of apartheid laws


F.W. de Klerk

Friday, 1 February 1991

The circumstances that led to the repealing and ultimate dismantling of the Apartheid structure was similar to those that led to the earlier proclamation made by then President FW de Klerk to free the jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela and others and to unban political organizations.

The announcement in Parliament on 1 February 1991 by de Klerk that he intended to repeal apartheid laws was met with derision by some members of parliament and outright hostility by others. Gradually laws that supported Apartheid were either changed or scrapped altogether. This was used as a motivation to argue for the lifting of economic sanctions against South Africa. However most of the world were sceptical of de Klerk's actions and thus kept most of the sanctions in place. 

• Ottaway, D.B., (1991), "Abolition of Apartheid Acts Planned", from The Washington post, 02 February, [online], Available at [Accessed: 25 January 2010]
• Wren, C.S., (1991), "South Africa moves to scrap Apartheid", from The New York Times, 02 February, [online], Available at [Accessed: 25 January 2010]

Last updated : 16-Jan-2014

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