7 July 1996
On 7 July 1996, in a television broadcast President Nelson Mandela confirmed the rumours that he would not stand for re-election in 1999. This is in accordance to what he had initially said when he was sworn in as the country's first democratic president in 1994. The South African constitution has a stipulation that states that the president can only serve for two terms as the head of state. Mandela felt one term was enough as he had already laid the foundation for a better future for all. Mandela did not publicly chose his successor. This may have been due to the fierce competition between Thabo Mbeki and Cyril Ramaphosa, who were both favourites for the position. Most commentators hold the view that a behind the scenes endorsement by Nelson Mandela and some old guards of the African National Congress (ANC) swung things in Mbeki's favour. Mbeki was ultimately elected ANC president in 1997, thus putting him in line for the country's presidency ahead of Ramaphosa