On 13 November 1991, Nelson Mandela announced that the first constitutional talks would take place on 29 and 30 November at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, and the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA I) started its first plenary meeting.

A Declaration of Intent was signed by all parties except the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Bophuthatswana Government. Working groups were formed.


The Working Groups started their work and met twice a week. Each group had almost eighty people, making a negotiated compromise on the various issues. Gender Advisory Committee was established to advise the Management Committee on gender issues.

CODESA II started. There was a massacre in Boipatong and the ANC withdrew from the negotiations process. Protest marches also took place in Bisho, an independent homeland in the Eastern Cape and twenty eight ANC protesters were killed by the Ciskei Defence Force. This incident was later called the Bisho massacre.


The multiparty Negotiating Forum started and the agreement on many issues was reached. The Interim Constitution for South Africa was drafted. A Transitional Executive Council was formed to run the country until democratic elections could be held.

The Interim Constitution was approved and it was duly endorsed by the last apartheid Parliament and became the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 200 of 1993. The interim Constitution came into effect on 27 April 1994 to govern South Africa’s first democratic one-person-one-vote non-racial election.

Collections in the Archives