African National Congress (ANC)

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Nelson and Winnie Mandela greet the crowds and cameras moments after his release, 11 February 1990.(© Graeme Williams, South Photographs Archive)

African National Congress Timeline 1990-1999

During the 1990s, behind-the-scenes negotiations between the government and the ANC gathered pace. As part of that process, the ANC, PAC and other parties were unbanned, hundreds of political activists serving prison sentences were released and many others who were in exile were allowed to return to South Africa. Several meetings between the government and the ANC laid the basis for the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and a transition to democratic rule. Mounting tensions fanned political violence between the ANC and IFP, and in some cases between the ANC and those sponsored by the government. Significantly, the ANC suspended the armed struggle. Despite problems in the transition, South Africa held the first all inclusive democratic elections in April 1994. The ANC won 62.65% of the votes and became the ruling party. Nelson Mandela served as the first democratically elected black president of South Africa. He served as president of the country for five years and retired, handing power both in government and the ANC to Thabo Mbeki, one of his deputy presidents.

1990
January, Eight veteran African National Congress (ANC) leaders, together with the leader of the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) meet the external hierarchy of the ANC in Lusaka.
2 February, President F. W. de Klerk makes a speech at the opening of Parliament, announcing the lifting of a 30-year ban on the ANC, the Pan African Congress (PAC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other anti-apartheid organisations, the suspension of the death sentence until further review, the release of some political prisoners and the partial lifting of restrictions on the media and on some detainees.
11 February, Nelson Mandela is freed after twenty-seven years in jail. He addresses a crowd of approximately 50 000 people from the steps of the Cape Town City Hall.
27 February, Nelson Mandela travels to Lusaka, Zambia to meet ANC officials.
4 March, Three-hundred and forty-three political prisoners began a hunger strike on Robben Island demanding their release in order to strengthen the bargaining position of the ANC.
14 March, In an exclusive interview with The Herald, the ANC military commander Joe Modise, states that the organisation could consider the suspension of the armed struggle but not the laying down of arms, to facilitate negotiations.
16 March, It is announced that talks between government officials and an ANC delegation led by Nelson Mandela would open in Cape Town on 11 April.
31 March, The ANC decides not to hold talks with the South African government scheduled for 11 April, due to the killing of defenceless demonstrators in Sebokeng.
2 April, The ANC elects Nelson Mandela as Deputy President of the organisation.
5 April, At an informal meeting in Cape Town, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela agree to reschedule formal talks between the government and the ANC. The talks will be held from 2 to 4 May.
14 April, Nelson Mandela admits that members of the ANC had tortured dissident guerrillas, but said the officials involved had been punished and any further torture had been banned.
25 April, Testifying before the Harms Commission, which was taking testimony at the South African Embassy in London, former police captain Dirk Coetzee, now a member of the ANC, said that he oversaw the 1981 killing by the secret police of Black activist Sizwe Kindile and of the human rights lawyer Griffiths Mxenge.
28 April, ANC leaders Joe Slovo, Thabo Mbeki, Alfred Nzo, Ruth Mompati and Joe Modise with four other people return to South Africa on a Zambian Airways plane lent by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda with four others.
2-4 May, The Groote Schuur talks take place between the South African government and the ANC. On 4 May the two parties sign the “Groote Schuur Minute” which sets out a common commitment to the resolution of the current climate of violence and to a peaceful process of negotiations.
9 May, Nelson Mandela begins a six-nation African tour.
17 May, An Anti-Apartheid Movement Rally is held in London to protest against President F.W. de Klerk’s  visit to the United Kingdom. The rally is addressed by Albertina Sisulu who states that “[De Klerk] needs more money, he needs more loans from your banks, to keep apartheid going – to pay the army and buy arms. [He]... is asking Western countries to help the Nats stay in power” (Sisulu in Sisulu, 2002: 575)
2 June, ANC Deputy President Nelson Mandela and State President F.W. de Klerk hold discussions in Pretoria on the progress of the Groote Schuur Minute.
4 June, Nelson Mandela leaves South African for a thirteen-nation international tour.
22 June, Nelson Mandela addresses the Special Committee against Apartheid in New York. In his address he urged the United Nations to do everything in its power to maintain the consensus it had achieved when it adopted the Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa in December 1989.
2 July, A week long labour stay-away, organized by the ANC and its allies to protest against factional Black violence in Natal begins.
6 July, The ANC condemns the "tolerant attitude the South African authorities have adapted to the violent activities of far-right and fascist groups" after a bomb explodes in a Johannesburg bus and taxi terminal, wounding more than 25 persons. An extreme-right group called "the White Wolves" claimed responsibility for five other bombings carried out during the previous days, including one against a liberal politician and another one against a synagogue.
8 July, Thousands of Alexandra townships residents attended the funeral of activist Meshack Kunene. He was killed by security police on 30 June during a welcome rally for the ANC Secretary-General, Alfred Nzo.
9 July, Nelson Mandela, in his capacity as ANC Deputy-President, gives a speech at the 26th Assembly of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
16 July, The ANC sends a report on police violence to President F. W. de Klerk and demands an end to "the shocking inhumanity" of police action in rural areas. The report is based on about 50 statements to lawyers by victims of police action in the farming towns of Ashton, Montague and Roberston. ANC leader Walter Sisulu had already accused the Government of failing to restrain the police after young activist Meshack Kunene was shot to death on June 30 in the Alexandra Township.
25 July, Senior ANC member, Sathyandranath ‘Mac’ Maharaj and over forty other members of the ANC and the SACP are detained for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government through Operation Vula.
6 August, After 14-hours of negotiations in Pretoria the South African government and the ANC recommit themselves to the Groote Schuur Minute. The ANC also agrees to suspend the armed struggle in the interest of reaching a peaceful political settlement. These agreements are signed in the “Pretoria Minute”.
15 August, Troops are deployed in three densely populated townships southeast of Johannesburg after fighting between members of the IFP and the ANC breaks out.
16 August, President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela hold emergency talks in Pretoria as violence spreads to Soweto. Fighting started there when Zulu migrant workers armed with axes and spears attacked passengers at a train station.
17 August, The ANC as well as Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) issue statements accusing elements of the South African security forces of orchestrating the conflict in the townships, saying that they had evidence of forged pamphlets being dropped in the migrant workers' hostels conveying the impression that the ANC wanted to attack Zulus and drive them out of the townships.
31 August, The Special Committee against Apartheid issued a statement expressing deep concern at the deterioration of the situation in South Africa, the continued detention of Mac Maharaj and the arrest of leaders of COSATU.
11 September, A delegation of officials of the ANC, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and COSATU meet with President F.W. de Klerk to discuss the issue of violence.
20 September, The ANC and the IFP announce that they had held high-level talks in Durban to discuss ways of ending violence in Natal and in the townships on the Reef. A joint statement issued at the end of the meeting called it a "historic" meeting, although the "matters discussed were in the main exploratory in nature".
8 October, A joint statement is issued following a meeting by President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela to discuss the recent violence. The statement acknowledges that there were "different current perceptions concerning the causes and handling of this violence". In a separate statement, President F.W. de Klerk announced that 20 000 exiles would be allowed to return to South Africa.
24 October, The ANC announces that it is postponing its national conference, set for 15 December 1990, until June 1991.
1 November, Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee announces guidelines for the release of political prisoners and the return of exiles. However, he warned that the fast tracking of implementation depended on the ANC's willingness and promise to suspend its armed struggle and related activities of sabotage. Coetsee also stated that 600 prisoners might apply for release, whereas the ANC maintained that the number was more than 3 000.
6 December, Marches are staged by the ANC in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein in the framework of the organisation's "mass mobilisation campaign", and to protest against delays in the release of political prisoners.
13 December, Oliver Tambo, President of the ANC, returns to South Africa after having spending thirty years in exile.
14-16 December, The ANC holds its first Consultative Conference in South Africa, after thirty years. The Conference, which lasted three days and was attended by 1,600 delegates, mandated the National Executive Committee to "serve notice on the regime that unless all the obstacles are removed on or before 30 April 1991, the ANC shall consider the suspension of the whole negotiation process" The party also announced that 1991 would be a "year of mass action". It rejected a call to relax international sanctions against South Africa and approved the creation of "defence units" to protect townships residents.
1991
28 January, The ANC announces that it had given President F.W. de Klerk a list of police officers believed to have participated in township violence, and whose removal it demanded.
29 January, A summit meeting is held in Durban between the ANC and the IFP. The meeting was addressed by Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi and ANC Deputy President Nelson Mandela. In a joint statement, both parties expressed their commitment to political tolerance and called on the security forces to play an effective peace-keeping role.
12 February, Negotiators of the ANC and the South African government met at the DF Malan Airport for further negotiations.  At the end D.F. Malan Accord was signed. Under the accord the government reaffirmed the right to peaceful protest and the ANC guerrillas also took further steps towards suspending the armed struggle.
16 February, Bheki Mlangeni, ANC human rights lawyer, is killed by a walkman bomb meant for Dirk Coetzee. Dirk Coetzee had received the parcel and realizing it probably contained a bomb he sent it back to the apparent sender – a Johannesburg human rights firm. The parcel, which was titled ‘Evidence of Hit Squads’, was received by Mlangeni who took it home to listen. Eugene de Kock is later convicted for the murder. 
April, The IFP and the ANC adopt a five-year plan to end violence between their supporters.
15-16 April, A joint conference between the ANC and the PAC is held in Harare, Zimbabwe brokered by President Robert Mugabe.
May, The ANC boycotts a government-sponsored conference to end violence, accusing the government of fomenting it.
2 May, In response to the ANC ultimatum to suspend negotiations if its demands are not met by 9 May, President F.W. de Klerk offers to include Black South African opposition groups in his cabinet and amend tough security laws.
8 May, A broad consensus is reached between the government and the ANC to end Black violence in townships a day before the ANC’s 9 May ultimatum to suspend negotiations unless its demands are met.
2-6 July, The ANC holds its 48th  National Conference in Durban, and the first to be held in South Africa in thirty years. The conference elects Nelson Mandela as President, Oliver Tambo, who served as President from 1969 to 1991, is elected National Chairperson, Walter Sisulu as Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa as Secretary General and Thomas Nkobi as Treasurer General.
22 July, After an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee, the ANC calls, among other things, for the dismissal of Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok and Defence Minister Magnus Malan, the establishment of a multi-party commission of inquiry into the authorities' involvement in the violence and the secret funding of political activity, as well as the public dismantling of all special counter-insurgency forces.
24 July, The ANC issues a press statement, entitled ‘State-sponsored violence against the people’, which responds to the resignation of M.Z. Khumalo and the “Inkathagate scandal”
25 July, Representatives of the South African authorities, business and religious leaders, as well as ANC and IFP, met in Johannesburg to continue their talks aimed at ending the violence.
9 August, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC, holds its first conference in South Africa after thirty years and calls for a formal ceasefire in the country.
15 August, The South African Government, ANC and IFP agree on a draft National Peace Accord which they described as "a firm foundation on which peace in South Africa can be achieved". The Accord includes a code of conduct for political parties, a code of conduct for the police and the security forces, provisions for socio-economic development, and a complex set of enforcement mechanisms.
14 September, The National Peace Accord is signed in Johannesburg by 23 political parties and organisations including the ANC, the IFP and a number of political parties, trade unions, religious and civic organisations, as well as the government (many others endorsed it, including PAC). It included a code of conduct for security forces and political parties; and established a National Peace Committee and a Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation, chaired by Justice Richard Goldstone, to monitor implementation of the accord.
26-27 October, A Patriotic Front Conference is held between in Durban and is attended by 90 organisations including the ANC, PAC and COSATU. The PAC initially demanded that deliberations be held at a neutral venue outside the country. Participants adopted a Declaration in which they called for: a Constituent Assembly to draft and adopt a democratic constitution; a sovereign Interim Government/Transitional Authority; and an All Party Congress/Pre-Constituent Assembly Meeting, brought together by independent and neutral convenors, to be held as soon as possible.
15 November, The South African Law Commission releases the draft Bill of Rights. Subsequent to this, the ANC releases a press statement comparing this draft Bill with those put forward by ANC’s Constitutional Committee.
30 November, At the end of a two-day preparatory meeting chaired by Judge Ismail Mohammed and Judge Petrus Schabort, 19 political and other organisations decide unanimously or by "sufficient consensus" that the first meeting of a Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) would be held near Johannesburg on 20 and 21 December 1991 to discuss constitutional principles, constitution-making body or process and transitional arrangements. Participating delegations also agreed on a nine-point agenda for the Convention, the establishment of a steering committee to facilitate its convening and on invitations to various international organisations to observe its proceedings.
21-22 December, CODESA holds its first meeting. In addition to the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, the Movement of Non-Aligned countries, the Commonwealth and the European Community were also observers at CODESA. Participants in CODESA decided to set up five working groups which are to report to a second CODESA plenary session before the end of March 1992. Seventeen of the 19 political groups (which did not include PAC and Conservative Party) participating in the first session of CODESA sign a Declaration of Intent and in a joint statement state that, "the broad objectives expressed in the Declaration of Intent are a most constructive and auspicious beginning for CODESA and give promise of attainment of true democracy for South Africa.”
1992
8 January, At its eightieth anniversary celebration, the ANC presents its post-apartheid policies and launches its electoral campaign. The annual January 8th statement is given by Nelson Mandela.
24 January, President F.W. de Klerk opens parliament and suggests a referendum in which the vote of each race group be counted separately. The ANC rejects President F.W. de Klerk's proposals for a referendum as an "attempt to prolong the transition by 10 years or more".
24 February, The ANC submits its constitutional blue-print to CODESA. It suggests a two phase transitional period of multiparty rule for fifteen months, to be followed by a coalition government for up to five years.
26 February, Defence Minister Roelf Meyer said that the ANC's proposals on joint control of security forces and on a role for the international community in the supervision of the transition were not acceptable to the National Party.
3 April, ANC President Nelson Mandela calls for an "independent international monitoring force" to help curb violence in South Africa.
16 May, CODESA talks end in deadlock. The ANC threatens mass action if the government does not compromise on constitutional issues. Nelson Mandela intervenes.
16 June, The ANC begins an open-ended campaign of public protest with a day of rallies, work stoppages and threats of a crippling general strike, until the Government agrees to terms for the creation of an interim government and an elected assembly to write a new constitution.
18 June, The ANC releases a press statement on the Boipatong Massacre. This was after armed attackers killed more than 40 people and injured others in Boipatong on 17 June.
21 June, ANC President Nelson Mandela announces that he is suspending all talks with the Government in the wake of the killings in Boipatong on 17 June when more than 40 were killed and scores injured.
29 June, Nelson Mandel addresses the Twenty-Eighth Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the OAU in Dakar, Senegal. Subsequent to this, the Council of Ministers of the OAU issue a resolution calling for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to examine the issue of violence in South Africa and to take action to put an end to it.
July, The South African government and the ANC attempt to break the stalemate, resulting from the Boipatong massacre.
13 July, The tripartite alliance, consisting of the ANC, the SACP and the COSATU, outline mass action plans from the beginning of August and the occupation of cities on 5 August.
23 July, Justice Richard Goldstone, chairman of the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry, announces that an agreement has been reached between the South African Police, ANC, SACP and COSATU on the principles outlined by a panel of experts on how mass demonstrations should be controlled.
27 July, ANC President Nelson Mandela states that a general strike would go ahead, and that the aim of the mass protest was not an insurrection but the peaceful removal of de Klerk from power; the immediate transfer of political power to the people, installation of an interim government, free and fair elections to a constituent assembly.
30 July, The South African government and ANC leaders hold talks, brokered by the United Nations Special Envoy to South Africa, Cyrus Vance, to break the political stalemate.
3 August, A forty-eight-hour strike and a week of mass action to demand a multiracial interim government by the end of the year and take effective steps to halt violence further pressures the government to concede majority rule. The tripartite alliance releases a press statement on the success of the strike.
13 August, The ANC issues a statement explaining why it has suspended talks with the South African government and that its fourteen demands have not been met.
26 August, A bilateral summit between delegations of the ANC and the South African government, led by Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk, is held in Johannesburg.
3 September, The National Executive Committee of the ANC endorses proposals for the intensification of the mass action campaign and decides not to resume negotiations until meaningful steps are taken by the Government to deal with the violence.
7 September, The ANC leads a march against the Ciskei government and the Bisho massacre takes place. The ANC releases a press statement condemning the killings.
10 September, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela resigns from the Executive of both the ANC and its Women’s League.
The ANC agrees to urgent talks with the government on the issue of violence.
21 September, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela, leader of the ANC agree, at a peace summit, to resume constitutional negotiations that were suspended in June.
26 September, A bilateral summit between delegations of the ANC and the South African Government, led respectively by Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk, is held in Johannesburg. A joint Record of Understanding was published, which laid the basis for the resumption of negotiations. An agreement was reached, in particular, on the banning of dangerous weapons throughout the country, the fencing of a number of hostels, the release of all remaining political prisoners before 15 November and the need for an elected Constituent Assembly with a fixed time frame and adequate deadlock- breaking mechanisms.
30 September, Meeting in a special session, the National Executive Committee of the ANC ratified the Record of Understanding and agreed that it indicated sufficient movement to enable the ANC to return to negotiations. It resolved to take additional precautions in future marches to minimise possibilities of any loss of life and injury.
October, The ANC releases a report on inhumane treatment of its opponents in the organization’s detention camps in Angola, Tanzania and Uganda.
16 October, The Goldstone Commission reports the finding of a secret operational centre run by Military Intelligence and seizes plans to destabilise the ANC.
27 October, Reggie Hadebe, a prominent Natal ANC leader, is shot dead after contacting the Natal Witness newspaper in Pietermaritzburg with evidence that RENAMO is behind the violence in Natal.
November, The ANC releases its strategic perspectives documents, which opts for an indefinite power-sharing coalition with the National Party.
15 November, In line with the Record of Understanding reached between the South African government and ANC, 42 political prisoners are released.
1993
5 January, The Swedish Government announces that it will be giving financial aid totalling about R110 million to the ANC and other organisations in South Africa, which are involved in religious, educational, cultural, and human rights fields. This aid, which had already been given over a number of years, would be phased out when ANC and others started regular elections campaign.
8 January, A press report states the ANC has released a CIA memorandum approved for release under the US Freedom of Information Act, which stated that South Africa detonated its first nuclear bomb with the assistance of Israeli scientists - off the Cape Atlantic coast in 1979. The Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa, which was said to have developed the project, denies any involvement in development of nuclear weapons or any collaboration with Israel on nuclear projects. A separate report cites a former senior Israeli intelligence officer who stated that the CIA report was untrue and that "the test was of an Israeli weapon with South African specialist observers present".
26 January, A joint press statement is issued by the government and the ANC on the bilateral meetings held on 20, 22, 25 and 26 January. The government delegation was led by Mr. Roelf Meyer, the Minister of Constitutional Development, and the ANC delegation was led by Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, the secretary general of the ANC. These meeting discussed issues related to security, models of a Government of National Unity, incorporation of TBVC and media reforms.  
19-21 February, The ANC Foreign Affairs Department hosts an International Solidarity Conference in Johannesburg to mobilise international support and help raise funds for its election campaign. On the first day of the conference, the delegates are addressed by Nelson Mandela. To read media reports on the conference click here.
1 April, Representatives from 26 South African political parties and organisations resumed multiparty negotiations marking the start of serious deliberations on the transition since the collapse of CODESA. This becomes known as the Multi Party Negotiation Process.
10 April, SACP General Secretary and member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, Chris Hani is shot dead outside his home. J.J. Walluz, a White South African of Polish origin, is arrested. Nelson Mandela releases a press statement condemning the killing.
13 April, Nelson Mandela addresses the nation on television on the assassination of Chris Hani.
19 April, Chris Hani’s funeral is held at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg and is attended by more the 150 000 people. Nelson Mandela addresses the crowd.
23 April, Oliver Tambo dies after suffering a fatal stroke.
2 May, Oliver Tambo’s funeral is addressed by Nelson Mandela
15 October, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
18 November, Leaders of 20 political parties at the Multi-Party Negotiating Process endorse an interim constitution and an electoral bill. Hereafter, the Transitional Executive Council would oversee the run-up to the democratic elections.
8 December, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is elected President of the ANC Women’s League. This automatically guarantees her a position on the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
1994
21 January, The ANC holds a National Conference on Reconstruction and Strategy at the Nasrec Centre in Johannesburg to discuss the sixth draft of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). The conference is attended by the ANC, COSATU, the SACP, organisations of the Patriotic Front and aligned organisations. The conference adopts the RDP policy framework. Nelson Mandela addresses the conference.
21 February, The ANC and the South African government make further concessions in an attempt to draw the Freedom Alliance into an inclusive constitutional settlement. The multiparty Negotiating Council agreed that provincial legislatures would in certain circumstances be competent to draw up laws for provinces. The council also agreed to postpone the registration deadline to 4 March.
15 March, The ANC’s national election manifesto is made public.
28 March, Violent clashes occur between Zulu IFP supporters protesting against the forthcoming April general election and the ANC's security guards outside Shell House, the ANC headquarters.
31 March, President F.W. de Klerk declares a state of emergency in Natal, in the hope of quelling the violence and ensuring a fair election in April. Nelson Mandela calls on ANC members to co-operate with security forces.
24 April, A car bomb explodes in downtown Johannesburg killing at least nine people and leaving ninety-two injured. The bomb had been placed in a car parked mid-way between the national and regional headquarters of the ANC.
26-29 April, South Africa holds its first democratic general election. The African National Congress wins 62.65% of the vote. The National Party 20.39%, Inkatha Freedom Party 10.54%, Freedom Front 2.2%, Democratic Party 1.7%, Pan Africanist Congress 1.2% and the African Christian Democratic Party 0.5%.
2 May, Nelson Mandela makes a speech announcing the ANC’s election victory.
10 May, Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as the President of South Africa.
11 May, President Nelson Mandela announces his cabinet.
24 May, President Nelson Mandela, in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament, announces that South Africa would subscribe to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and acceded to human rights conventions of the United Nations.
26 May, President Nelson Mandela says that in order to promote national unity he is willing to bring into government those who wish to be involved. In a meeting with PAC leader, Clarence Makwetu, President Nelson Mandela asked him to present a list of PAC members and indicate in which government structures they would wish to be involved. Clarence Makwetu said the PAC had asked that 6,000 members of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) be incorporated in the National Defence Force and that the figure could reach 10,000. President Nelson Mandela also met with the leader of the DP, Tony Leon.
27 May, South Africa's Minister for Trade, Trevor Manuel, discloses that South Africa had been formally invited to join Southern African Development Community (SADC).
July, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) appoints Ronnie Kasrils as Deputy Defence Minister, and MK chief of staff Siphiwe Nyanda SANDF first Black chief of staff. Seven former MK members are appointed generals.
18 August, President Nelson Mandela makes a major policy speech in Parliament to mark his first 100 days as president.
Deputy President F.W. de Klerk is appointed chairman of the cabinet committee which will oversee a revamped security and intelligence service. President Nelson Mandela is to take personal charge of the intelligence service.
9 September, Disgruntled former ANC guerrillas march to Pretoria demanding equal rights and pay in the new South African army. President Nelson Mandela persuades them to return to barracks.
17 September, The Labour Party decides to disband after twenty-nine years in existence. Most of the members join the ANC.
15 November, The government releases its White Paper on the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).
November, The court-martial of 4,084 former MK cadres who had been AWOL from the Wallmannstal military base during November begins.
7 November, Over 2000 MK soldiers of the ANC’s armed wing are dismissed from the SANDF for failing to report for duty.
17 December, The ANC holds its forty-ninth National Conference in Bloemfontein. Its Strategy and Tactics document: From Resistance to Reconstruction and Development is adopted to guide the organization over the next three years.
1995
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is set up under Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
8 January, President Nelson Mandela makes his first January 8th speech as President of South Africa. 1995 is made the ‘Year to Consolidate and Deepen Democracy
27 March, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, is dismissed from her post following allegations of financial mismanagement.
2 April, The ANC announces at its Conference on Constitutional Policy, that there will be no enforced coalition after the 1999 general election. To read a report on the conference click here.
17 April, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela resigned as Deputy Minister, a day before her dismissal was to take effect.
15 June, The ANC publishes its Policy Proposals for the final Constitution.
20 June, The ANC and SACP stalwart, Harry Gwala, dies.
24 August, ‘A better life: Let’s make it happen where we live’, the ANC’s 1995 Local Government election feature is published.
28 August, The SADC heads of state and governments meet in Kempton Park. President Nelson Mandela gives the opening address.
1 November, Results of the local government elections are published: 51.37% participated, 5.3 million people in total. The ANC is the overall winner, securing 66.37% of the votes cast.
25 December, Nineteen ANC supporters are killed in the south east of KwaZulu Natal in what becomes known as the Shobashobane massacre.
1996
19 January, President Nelson Mandela holds meetings with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and later declares he will initiate a round of urgent peace talks in Kwazulu Natal, leading as soon as possible to an 'imbizo' (a traditional Zulu gathering).
21 January, President Nelson Mandela meets Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who endorses the plan for the traditional gathering to discuss ways of ending the bloodshed in Kwazulu-Natal.
28 January, President Nelson Mandela meets United States Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam. Both state their opposition to racism and sexism. The media, religious leaders and opposition criticize the reception of Farrakhan.
10 February, President Nelson Mandela discloses that he has invited Cuban President Fidel Castro to South Africa. This move elicits expressions of concern from the United States and criticism from the National Party.
3-4 March, President Nelson Mandela visits Mali for two days (and Togo for a few hours on 4 March). He and Togolese President Eyadema review the situation in West Africa. South Africa and Mali agree to establish diplomatic relations.
5 March, President Nelson Mandela is reported to have held talks with Jonas Savimbi, President of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in Togo on 4 March 1996. Discussions centred on the Angolan peace process and democracy in South Africa.
5 - 7 March, President Nelson Mandela undergoes three days of intensive medical checks to counter rumours concerning the state of his health.
15 March, The first provisional constitution is unanimously adopted by the Kwazulu-Natal legislature. The ANC secures a major concession - a clause nullifying an aspect of the constitution incompatible with the final national constitution and various contentious issues (including the monarchy, rural local government and provincial powers) are rendered 'of no force and effect' for periods ranging from six to eighteen months.
21 March, A massacre takes place at Donnybrook, Kwazulu-Natal only hours after President Nelson Mandela visits the province. All those killed are ANC supporters.
13 April, Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary-General of the ANC and chairman of the Constitutional Assembly, announced his intention to resign from Parliament once the final Constitution is agreed upon. He will become deputy Executive Chairman of New Africa Investment Ltd. (NAIL).
15 July, A grenade attack is launched on the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg. It is blamed by the ANC on a 'third force'. The DP links the attack to the slow pace of investigations into the 28 March 1994 Shell House massacre and civil claims aganist the ANC by dependents of those killed.
26 July, A White House statement, issued at the end of a visit by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, states that a tentative agreement has been reached in the dispute over an attempt by the United States government to prosecute ARMSCOR over illegal weapons trafficking. Details of the agreement are not made public, but it is said 'to meet the needs of both countries'.
26 July, Bantu Holomisa is dismissed as Deputy Environment and Tourism Minister. His responsibilities are assigned to former ANC Youth League leader Peter Mokaba and it is announced that he will face an internal ANC disciplinary hearing.
26 September, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela appears for a hearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after being subpoenaed to respond her alleged involvement in the death of Stompie Seipei.
 11 October, The new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is adopted by the Constitutional Assembly as Act 108 of 1996. It is set to come into effect as of 4 February 1997.
13 December, President Nelson Mandela extends both the cut-off date for amnesty applications and the deadline for applications to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Amnesty may now be sought for political crimes carried out up to 10 May 1994, the date of his inauguration as President. Applications to the TRC may now be made up to 10 May 1997.
1997
7 April, ANC leader in the Kwazulu Natal midlands Sifiso Nkabinde is expelled from the ANC for allegedly being a spy.
9 April, President Nelson Mandela declares that Minister of Safety and Security Sydney Mufamadi and National Police Commissioner George Fivaz are the best team to combat crime and that the misunderstanding between the two men has been resolved.
18 April, President Nelson Mandela, present in his capacity as chief of the Temba clan, rather than Head of State, inaugurates the National Council of Traditional Leaders (later renamed the National House of Traditional Leaders). One hundred and fifty tribal leaders are inducted into Parliament in a colourful ceremony. The kings of Lesotho and of Swaziland also attend.
25-26 April, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki gives the opening address at the Third ANC Women’s League Conference. The conference re-elects Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as president of the ANC's Women's League by 656 votes to 114 for her deputy Thandi Modise. Her victory reflects the level of grassroots support she continues to enjoy.
2 May, ANC spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa, reports that an internal party committee has recommended that all members of the ANC's National Executive Committee since 1961, together with senior members of the armed wing MK should apply to the TRC for amnesty.
12-13 May, An ANC delegation, led by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, makes the party's second major submission to the TRC in the form of a defence of the way in which it had conducted its 'just war' against apartheid.
31 August -1 September, The ANC holds a special one-day summit with its alliance partners COSATU and the SACP and pledges to take the concerns of its allies into account and to ensure consultation on key policies.
27 September, The United Democratic Movement led by Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa founded.
20 November, The ANC makes a submission to the TRC’s special hearing on the role of business in South Africa.
16-20 December, At the ANC’s 50th annual National Conference held in Mafikeng, North-West, President Nelson Mandela hands over the ANC presidency to Thabo Mbeki. To read Nelson Mandela’s closing address click here and to read Thabo Mbeki’s closing address click here. At the end of the conference Thabo Mbeki addresses ANC supports at Mafikeng Stadium.
1998
President Nelson Mandela addresses the Moral Summit, where he spoke of the “RDP soul”, suggesting a moral regeneration so as to restore the moral fibre of the South African nation.
8 June, President Nelson Mandela addresses a summit meeting of the OAU Heads of State and Government in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
4 September, On the invitation of President Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Cuban President, arrives in South Africa for a two-day state visit. He receives and warm welcome and addresses a special sitting of the National Assembly.
21 September, President Nelson Mandela delivers remarks on various issues, such as the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its impact in Africa.
1 October, The ANC in the Western Cape publishes a draft document entitled ‘A development orientated growth path for the Western Cape’.
27 October, Kgalema Motlanthe, the ANC’s Secretary-General, reacts to the leakage of a document sent to the ANC by the TRC on the Commission’s findings against the Congress.
29 October, The TRC presents its report to President Nelson Mandela.
17 December, Dorothy Nyembe, ANC member and leader of the 1956 Women’s March, dies. The ANC KwaZulu Natal Provincial Executive Committee releases a statement on her death.
22 December, The ANC reacts with dismay at the acquittal of five of the 13 people who were convicted of the Shobashobane massacre of 1995.
25 December, The ANC releases a statement on the Jericho massacre in which eight people were killed at Jericho, near Margate, KwaZulu Natal.
1999
17 January, The ANC releases a statement on the comments made by Mzwakhe Mbuli (in the Sunday Times, 17 January 1999) denying that ANCYL President Malusi Gigaba was sent to visit him in prison.
19 January, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, on behalf of the ANC, unveils the Samora Machel Memorial at Mbuzini, Mpumalanga.
29 January, President Nelson Mandela addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos for the last time as president of South Africa.
25 February, Parliament holds a Special Debate on the Report of the TRC. President Nelson Mandela gives the opening address.
4 March, The ANC is releases a statement on the decision of the TRC Amnesty Committee that the 27 ANC leaders ‘applications fall outside the ambit of the act and accordingly they do not require to apply for amnesty’
12 March, President Nelson Mandela is awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Leiden, Netherlands. After receiving the award, he makes a speech before the Dutch Parliament in The Hague.
29 March, The local secondary school in Azaadville, Randfontein, Gauteng is renamed the Ahmed Timol Secondary School. President Nelson Mandela gives the official address.
2 June, South Africa’s second general election is won by the ANC with 66.35% of the votes. This increased the ANC’s seats in Parliament by 14.
14 June, Thabo Mbeki is elected President by the new Assembly and succeeds Nelson Mandela, with Jacob Zuma becoming Deputy President.
16 June, A farewell banquet is held in Pretoria to honour Nelson Mandela hosted by President Thabo Mbeki. Nelson Mandela gives a farewell speech.
28 October, Smuts Ngonyama, ANC Head of Communications, responds to the Democratic Party’s allegations that their offices have been bugged.
12-19 November, An ANC Delegation led by Alfred Nzo and consisting of NEC members and Provincial Secretaries visit China on a week-long tour after being invited by the Chinese Communist Party.
30 November, The ANC releases its Annual Report, 1999 which assesses its progress in 1991 and outlines its Programme of Action for 2000.
10-11 December, The ANC hosts its Alliance meeting with the SACP and COSATU. The focus is on the economic conditions within South Africa and its place in the global economy.

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References:
• Linnegar, J. (2004), Every Step of the Way – The Journey to freedom in South Africa.(Cape Town:HSRC Press)
•  Watson, W (2007). Brick by Brick – An Informal guide to the History of South Africa. Claremont, South Africa. New Africa Book (Pty) Ltd
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• Sisulu, E., (2002). “Riding out the darkness (1978-1989)” in Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In our Lifetime. Claremont, South Africa: David Philip Publishers.
•  Kalley, J. A., Schoeman, E., and Andor, L.E., (1999). Southern African Political History: A Chronology of Key Political Events from Independence to Mid-1997, (Greenwood Press), p.
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• Van Wyk, J.A. (2009). ‘The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in Cadres, Capitalists and Coalitions: The ANC, Business and Development in South Africa[online]. Available at www.dlprog.org[Accessed 28 September 2011]
• Mary McGovern, Bronwen Manby, Human Rights Watch (Organization), Africa Watch Committee, (1993),  South Africa half-hearted reform: the official response to the rising tide of violence, (New York), p.2
• ANC STATEMENT ON GRENADE ATTACK ON ANC HEADQUARTERS, [online], Available at  http://www.e-tools.co.za/newsbrief/1996/news0717[Accessed 03 November 2011]
• ANC, (1997), Report on the Tripartite Alliance Summit – 1997, from the African National Congress, 1 September, [online], Available at www.anc.org.za[Accessed 03 November 2011]
• Rich, P.B,  Reaction and renewal in South Africa, p.193
• Transition 1990-1994,from O’Malley, [online], Available at www.nelsonmandela.org [Accessed 25 October 2011]
• Cole, K, (1994) Sustainable development for a democratic South Africa, (London),  pp.1-2
• Du Bois-Pedain, A, (2007), Transitional amnesty in South Africa, (Cambridge University Press), p.60.
• Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report,Volume Two, pp. 555-557.

Last updated : 12-Dec-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 07-Nov-2011