Liberation history Timeline 1990-1999


Opening ceremony of CODESA 1, World Trade Centre, 1991. Photograph by Graeme Williams

The negotiations leading to the first democratic elections gathered pace at the beginning of the 1990s. Early in the decade the political organisations that had been restricted were unbanned and Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Later all political prisoners were released and political exiles were allowed to return. A series of meetings laying the groundwork for the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and a transition to democratic rule were held during this period. There were attempts to derail the negotiations process by White rightwing groups and other black political parties as they initially refused to participate in the negotiations. Furthermore, political violence in various regions across the country threatened to ignite countrywide political instability. Significantly, the ANC and later the PAC suspended the armed struggle. The homelands were reincorporated into South Africa.  Despite problems in the transition, South Africa held the first all-inclusive democratic elections in April 1994, which propelled the ANC to power – with Nelson Mandela as the first black democratically elected president. In the new government, former state president and leader of the National Party FW De Klerk became one of the two vice presidents, alongside Thabo Mbeki.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) is formed.
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.
5 February, The extreme right reacts with anger to the reforms by President F.W. de Klerk. One Black person is killed in the town of Klerksdorp and the United Kingdom Embassy in Pretoria was attacked.
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.
13 March, Patricia de Lille an Executive member of the PAC reiterates a position of the party rejecting the negotiated settlement as “”¦there is nowhere in history where the oppressors have negotiated themselves out of power.”
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.
26 March, Police open fire on 50 000 anti-apartheid protesters in the township of Sebokeng, near Johannesburg, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 380.
Piet Clase, Minister of Education for Whites, announces that the regime has decided to abandon the principle of segregated state education.      
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, Nelson Mandela is elected as Deputy President of the ANC.
5 April, The Venda homeland falls in a military coup and Frank Ravele is overthrown. The Council of National Unity takes over and governs the territory.
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. Talks are scheduled to 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.
18 April, President F.W. de Klerk announces the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, into the police killing of 17 peaceful demonstrators at the township of Sebokeng.
20 April, Stating that the arms would be used in a White "counter-revolution", members of a far-right group steal from Air Force Headquarters in Pretoria a small arsenal, including machine-guns and R-1 and R-4 rifles.
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 4 others return to South Africa on a Zambian Airways plane lent by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.
May, Government admits to failure of its ‘homeland’ policy and that ‘homelands’ will be reintegrated into South Africa.
2-4 May, The Groote Schuur talks take place between the South African government and the ANC in Cape Town. 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.
6 May, P.W. Botha resigns from the National Party in protest against President F.W. de Klerk’s reform proposals.
9 May, Nelson Mandela begins a six-nation African tour.
16 May, Government officials announce plans to abolish racial segregation in state hospitals.
17 May, An Anti-Apartheid Movement Rally is held in London to protest against a visit to the United Kingdom of President de Klerk. 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)
19 April, Jeff Masemola dies in a car accident under circumstances which the PAC felt were suspicious.
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.
5 June, The Chairman of the Venda Council for National Unity, Colonel Gabriel Ramushwana, announces the lifting of the state of emergency and the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Venda.
4 June, Nelson Mandela leaves South African for a thirteen-nation international

6 June, Police detain three Whites for questioning in connection with a hand grenade attack on 24 May against the Melrose House Museum near Pretoria.  One of the three is said to be a member of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement. Police are still seeking right- wing extremist Piet "Skiet" Rudolph who claimed responsibility for the attack and who warned the media that this was the first step in a backlash by White people against President F.W. de Klerk's reforms.
7 June, President F.W. de Klerk announces that the four-year old state of emergency would be lifted in all the provinces with the exception of Natal and the homeland of Kwazulu.
9-19 June, A United Nations investigative team, led by the under-secretary-general Abdulrahim Abby Farah, visits South Africa.
22 June, Offices of the Minister of National (Black) Education, Stoffel van der Merwe, and that of Deputy Constitutional Development Minister, Rolf Meyer, are bombed by White far-right wing members.
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 attend 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.
14 July, Chief Mangosuthu “Gatsha” Buthelezi, leader of the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), announces the transformation of the Movement into a multiracial political party.
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.
24 July, The Special Committee against Apartheid issues a statement concerning the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress made in the Implementation of the Declaration on Apartheid and Its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa. It agreed with the Secretary-General's observation that although the process of change in South Africa had started, it is still at a preliminary stage. The Secretary-General introduced the report at a resumed session of the General Assembly held on 20 July. The General Assembly decided to hold a full discussion of the report from 12-14 September 1990.
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 (Operation Vula).
29 July, The SACP comes out to public political life at its largest rally ever, which was held in the township of Soweto. It introduces its 22-person "interim leadership" to a crowd of 40,000 people.
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”.
16 August, President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela hold emergency talks in Pretoria as violence spreads to Soweto. Fighting broke out when Zulu migrant workers armed with axes and spears attacked passengers at a train station.
17 August, The ANC as well as 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.
August, More than five hundred people die in eleven days of fighting between township residents and migrant Zulu workers in the PWV region, and the government declares a State of Emergency in this region.
27 August, A four-day conference entitled "Anatomy of Hate: Resolving Conflict Through Dialogue and Democracy" is organised in Oslo by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The conference is addressed by Nelson Mandela and Leon Wessels, South African Deputy Foreign Minister, amongst others.
31 August, The Special Committee against Apartheid issues 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.
September, The Goldstone Commission of Inquiry is established to investigate the Sebokeng massacre of 26 March, in which at least eleven people were killed when the police opened fire during a protest march of about 50 000 township residents.
7 September, Dr. Zach de Beer is elected as leader of the Democratic Party.
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.
13 September, At least six persons are killed and 400 shacks destroyed during a night attack on a squatter camp in the township of Thokoza.
15 September, The government launches Operation Iron Fist to curb township violence. These measures included a curfew; the cordoning off of hostels and squatter camps with razor wire; the use of aerial spray dyes; and, mounting light machine guns on armoured vehicles. Twenty-seven townships were placed under emergency rule. 
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 mainly exploratory in nature".
24 September, Winnie Mandela is formally charged with four counts of kidnapping and of assault, and is to stand trial with seven others in the events surrounding the murder of Stompie Moeketsi in December 1988.
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 de Klerk announced that 20 000 exiles would be allowed to return to South Africa.
15 October, The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, which legalised the segregation of public premises, vehicles and services, is formally repealed after Parliament voted to repeal the Act on 20 June 1990.
18 October, The state of emergency in Natal which had been in place since June 1986 is lifted.
20 October, The formerly White-only National Party opens its membership to all race groups.
24 October, The ANC announces that it is postponing its national conference, set for 15 December 1990 to June 1991.  
November, An attempted coup, lead by Craig Duli and elements of the South African Military Intelligence  to topple the Transkei government, headed by General Bantu Holomisa, is put down.
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.
2 November, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Andries Treurnicht, leader of the Conservative Party, meet in Durban and issue a joint statement declaring that they are united in the rejection of "domination, terrorism and communism".
7 November, A conference, in which 230 delegates representing 81 churches participated, is held in Rustenburg in the Northwestern Transvaal. After a lengthy debate, most delegates accept a "confession of sin" from the Dutch Reformed Church for their role in apartheid.
13 November, The Harms Commission report criticizes the army and police counter-insurgency units, but has no evidence that police operated death squads. The report is denounced by opposition groups as a ‘white-wash’.
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 fled the country thirty years ago.
The UN General Assembly concludes three days of debate on apartheid.
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" and 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.
18 December, The South African authorities publish a notice granting indemnity from prosecution to all exiles that left the country illegally before 8 October 1990.
January, 205 White government schools admit Black children for the first time
28 January, The ANC announces that it had given President 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.
1 February, President F.W. de Klerk announces during the opening of Parliament, that the Land Act, the Group Areas Act and the Registration of Population Act are to be scrapped.
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, The Committee of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, meeting in London, issue a statement to the effect that sanctions against South Africa will remain until the South African government repeals the Group Areas Act, the Land Acts and Population Registration Act.
Bheki Mlangeni, an 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 Joburg 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. 
March, The first group of political exiles return to South Africa and the government releases forty (mainly ANC) political prisoners, but amongst them, is Piet 'Skiet' Rudolph, a prominent right-winger facing charges of planting bombs and theft of arms and ammunition.
2-3 March, It is announced at a Convention that the UDF is to end its activities and will formally disband on the 20th August.
3 March, The SACP is formally launched in Natal at a rally held at Currie’s Fountain Stadium in Durban.
April, Gertrude Shope is elected as President of ANC Women’s League.
April, The IFP and the ANC adopt a five-year plan to end violence between their supporters.
President F.W. de Klerk rejects the ANC's ultimatum that it will abandon constitutional talks unless it dismisses the Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan and the Minister of Police, Adriaan Vlok, and that this and other demands be met by 9 May.
15-16 April, A joint conference between the ANC and the PAC is held in Harare, Zimbabwe brokered by President Robert Mugabe.
16 April, The International Olympic Committee conditionally recognises the racially mixed Interim National Olympic Committee of South Africa, thus paving the way for that country's participation in the next Olympic Games.
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 de Klerk offers to include Black South African opposition groups in his cabinet and amend tough security laws.
8 May, President de Klerk announces an immediate ban on "cultural weapons" "excluding at this stage spears" in townships declared as "unrest areas".
9 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.
12 May, Inkatha supporters rampage through a squatter camp in the Kagiso Township in the West Rand, killing at least twenty-two people.
13 May, Winnie Mandela is found guilty and convicted on charges of kidnapping and acting as an accessory "after the fact" to the assault of four Black youths in 1988. She receives a six-year prison sentence, but is released on bail after her lawyers file an appeal.
June, The quota system for universities is repealed.
5 June, The South African Parliament adopts the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Bill, No. 108 of 1991.
June, The 27th OAU summit affirms the commitment of Africa in the struggle against apartheid and the continuation of sanctions against South Africa.
10 June, Speaking before journalists, retired army major, Nico Basson, said that the South African military had supplied weapons (such as AK-47 assault rifles) and covert assistance to IFP in order to weaken ANC. He also disclosed that the South African military had previously carried out similar activities in Namibia to discredit the South West Africa People's Organisation. IFP leader Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi later denied these allegations.
17 June, The Population Registration Act, which required people to register as belonging to one of four racial groups (White, Black, Coloured or Indian), is repealed by the Population Registration Act Repeal Act, No 114 of 1991.
21 June, The Internal Security Act is amended to remove certain police powers such as allowing detention without trial.
23-24 June, A church-sponsored peace summit for the first time includes the authorities, representatives from the ANC, IFP, PAC and the Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO), the SACP, trade unions, business as well as other parliamentary parties and. A "preparatory committee" is formed which includes working groups that would study the possibility of adopting codes of conduct for political organisations and the security forces as well as mechanisms for enforcing a peace agreement, and the reconstruction of areas affected by violence. The Conservative Party boycotts the summits.
25 June, Six people are killed and 18 injured when gunmen opened fire on a crowded commuter train in Soweto.
30 June, Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 is passed.
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.
9 July, The International Olympic Committee officially recognises the South African Olympic Committee.  
10 July, The United States lifts certain trade and investment sanctions against South Africa which had been implemented through the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.
The International Cricket Council agrees to grant full membership to the United Cricket Board of South Africa, which would allow South African players to participate in Test matches by the end of 1991.
19 July, In a report published in the New Nation, a former South African army sergeant, Felix Ndimene, alleged that members of the Five Reconnaissance Regiment, which is part of South Africa's special forces, carried out an attack on a Soweto-bound train in September 1990. Twenty six persons died in that attack.
21 July, The government admits to providing a slush fund to Inkatha and its associated trade union, the United Workers Union of South Africa (UWUSA).
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.
23 July, The “Inkathagate scandal” claims its first victim when M.Z. Khumalo, personal assistant to Chief Buthelezi, resigns after admitting that he acted as a middle man who organized covert funds paid by the Security Police for two Inkatha rallies.
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, meet in Johannesburg to continue their talks aimed at ending the violence.
30 July, Addressing a nationally televised press conference, President F.W. de Klerk announces that all special projects which constituted support for political parties had been cancelled.
August, The National Party outlines its constitutional proposals to be tabled at its Federal Congress on 4 September.
August, APLA operatives Nkosinathi Mvinjane and Lulamile Khwankwa shoot a traffic officer, Simon Kungoane in Pimville Soweto.
1 August, The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC issues a statement that calls into question the IFP's "legitimacy as an independent force".
2 August, In a statement recalling the principles for a new constitutional order enunciated in the 1989 United Nations Declaration on Apartheid, the PAC said that a "democratically mandated Constituent Assembly is the ideal and most desirable way to establish legitimate government in our country".
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.
9 August, A bloody confrontation takes place between the right wing Afrikaner Weerstandbeweging (AWB) and government security forces in Ventersdorp.
Government signs a multilateral agreement with Transkei, Venda and Ciskei regarding social welfare services in their respective territories.
11 August, Ismael Mahomed becomes the first non-White judge appointed to the Supreme Court of South Africa.
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.
19 August, South African Catholic Bishops Conference decides that economic sanctions are no longer necessary.
4 September, Key points of the National Party’s constitutional proposals are outlined at its special Federal Congress.
In his second progress report, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Javier Pérez du Cuéllar, found that "over the last 12 months the process towards the end of apartheid in South Africa, although halting, has remained on course".
UNHCR and South Africa sign a Memorandum of Understanding concerning amnesty for South African refugees and political exiles. The agreement provided for comprehensive amnesty; a mechanism allowing UNHCR to make representations on behalf of persons not granted amnesty; establishment of UNHCR presence in South Africa; and, complete freedom of movement for returnees within South Africa.
6 September, Venda Reincorporation Forum Act No 5: Provided for the reincorporation of Venda into South Africa.
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.
30 September, South Africa signs multilateral agreements with the governments of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei.
1 October, Aliens Control Act No 96: This replaces all previous legislation regarding foreigners entering, leaving or being resident in the country.
24 October, The Goldstone Commission is established by the government under the terms of the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation Act of 1991 as a structure of the National Peace Accord. Justice Goldstone is once again unanimously appointed as Chairman to head the commission with five other people.
26-27 October, A Patriotic Front Conference is held 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.
5 November, At the end of a two-day meeting of consultations, held in Geneva, by the Special Committee against Apartheid adopt a statement of action in which they agreed to pursue a two-track policy of pressure on the South African authorities and assistance to democratic organisations in South Africa.
8 November, The South African cricket team arrives in Calcutta, to play in three one-day matches against the Indian team in South Africa's first international cricket contact since 1970.
15 November, The South African Law Commission releases a draft Bill of Rights. The ANC releases a press statement comparing this draft Bill with those put forward by ANC’s Constitutional Committee.
27 November, According to press reports, the PAC accuses the ANC of being "guilty of deceit and duplicity" and of undermining the Patriotic Front Alliance "in cahoot with the regime". The accusation follows a meeting held in the United Nations on 20 November 1991 by ANC Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Thabo Mbeki, with Ambassadors of the Front Line States, of which the PAC said it had obtained the minutes. The Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations later issued a statement denying the existence of such minutes and "regretting the misrepresentations reflected in the so-called minutes".
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.
8 December, The SACP holds its first legal Congress inside the country and Chris Hani replaces Joe Slovo as Secretary-General of the Party. The Party also adopts a new constitution.
9 December, South Africa signs co-operation agreement with Ciskei regarding structural adjustment.
11 December, The first Regional Dispute Resolution Committee is established in Natal in terms of the National Peace Accord signed on 14 September 1991.
12 December, The first group of 120 exiles returning to South Africa under the agreement reached in August by UNHCR and the South African authorities arrive in Johannesburg from Tanzania.
13 December, The UN General Assembly adopts seven resolutions, three of them by consensus, on the "Policies of Apartheid of the Government of South Africa".
17 December, UN Secretary-General announces that Sadako Ogata, High Commissioner for Refugees, and Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid, would lead the United Nations observer delegation to CODESA.
18 December, The Steering Committee of CODESA reaches an agreement whereby all parties would commit themselves "politically and morally" to put CODESA's decisions into effect.
Chief Mangosuthu “Gatsha” Buthelezi announces that he will not attend the first session of CODESA.
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 the PAC and Conservative Party) participating in the first session of CODESA sign a Declaration of Intent and in a joint statement. They 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.”
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 de Klerk's proposals for a referendum as an "attempt to prolong the transition by 10 years or more".
27 January, The European Community formally lifts economic sanctions against South Africa.
28 January, Eugène Terre’Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) and nine other members are arrested for staging a riot on 9 August 1991 in Ventersdorp.
3 February, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are awarded the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, France.
5 February, The Goldstone Commission of Inquiry has its first hearing on the South African Defence Force’s involvement in promoting ‘Black on Black’ violence.
2 February, At the opening of Parliament, President F.W. de Klerk announces that a referendum for Whites only will be held on 17 March 1992, to determine their support for the continuation of the reform process aimed at a new constitution through negotiations.
19 February, The Goldstone Commission of Inquiry releases its Interim Report on the Violence at Mooi River.
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.
28 February, The carrying of dangerous weapons is prohibited through a Government Notice: Participants in gatherings in unrest areas are prohibited from carrying listed weapons and firearms, excluding traditional cultural weapons and/or objects not specifically designed to inflict injury (Government Notice 719, GG 13801 of 28 February 1992).
6 March, According to a report on violence published by the Black Sash Repression Monitoring Group, an estimated 11,000 persons had been killed in political violence in South Africa since 1986.
17 March, In the referendum for Whites only, 68.6 per cent voted "Yes", compared to 31.3 per cent who voted "No" for the continuation of constitutional negotiations. Eighty-six per cent of the White voting population participated in the referendum.
27 March, A multilateral agreement is signed between the governments of Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland which amends the Trilateral Monetary Agreement of 5 December 1974.
April, More than 250 women representing 60 organisations come together to launch the Women’s National Coalition (WNC). A national steering committee is elected to co-ordinate the process of drawing up a Women’s Charter. It is through the Women’s National Coalition that women enter the CODESA talks.
3 April, ANC President Nelson Mandela calls for an "independent international monitoring force" to help curb violence in South Africa.
6 April, The Human Rights Commission (HCR) of South Africa said that the level of violence in the country had reached unprecedented levels during March 1992, with 437 persons killed and 898 injured and that "the extreme level of violence was undoubtedly the result of forces working to destabilise the referendum and the peace process".
13 April, Nelson Mandela announces separation from his wife, Winnie Mandela.
21 April, Five White Democratic Party MP’s defect and join the ANC. 
12 May, An agreement is reached in Working Group III of CODESA on the establishment of a multiparty Transitional Executive Council, which could take decisions by an 80 per cent majority.
15 May, The second plenary session of CODESA (CODESA II) is convened in Johannesburg.
16 May, CODESA talks end in deadlock. The ANC threatens mass action if the government does not compromise on constitutional issues which would lead to the establishment of an interim government and elections for a constituent assembly. Nelson Mandela intervenes.
27 May, The second interim report of the Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, is released.
3 June, In a report entitled "Agenda for Peace", the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) criticises IFP leader Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi for "carrying a heavy responsibility for the escalation of violence".
10 June, Amnesty International releases a world-wide report entitled "State of Fear", which accuses South Africa's security forces of involvement in violence, and states that the Government is guilty of "gross negligence at best”.
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.
17 June, Armed attackers shoot and hack their way through the Black township of Boipatong, leaving more than 40 people dead and scores injured, including women and children. Witnesses say that the violence was perpetrated by residents of a nearby hostel.
18 June, The ANC releases a press statement on the Boipatong Massacre.
19 June, The Goldstone Commission recommends that the 32nd Battalion "should not again be used for peacekeeping duties anywhere in South Africa".
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 Mandela addresses the Twenty-Eighth Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the OAU in Dakar, Senegal. After the meeting, 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.
2 July, President F.W. de Klerk offers to lower the margin of approval needed for changes in South Africa's constitution from 75 per cent to 70 per cent. This issue, among others, had brought talks to an impasse of the CODESA II.
5 July, During a four-day consultative visit in South Africa, Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku says the Commonwealth is prepared to help get constitutional talks back on track.
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.
14-15 July, An International Hearing on Political Violence in South Africa, which is co-sponsored by the Special Committee against Apartheid and organised by the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, is held in London.
15 July, At the request of the OAU, the Security Council convenes to examine the issue of violence in South Africa and take appropriate action to end it. Nelson Mandela also addresses the UN Security Council.
16 July, The Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 765 to assist in bringing an effective end to the violence and in creating conditions for negotiations to resume.
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, Church leaders launch a major initiative among business, labour, government and political groups to restart negotiations and help create a more favourable political climate for the coming week's general strike.
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 starts to force an early transition to majority rule. The tripartite alliance releases a press statement on the success of the strike.
5 August, Nelson Mandela leads more than 50,000 supporters to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. To read a newspaper report on the march click here.
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.
17 August, Leaders of ten southern African states met in Windhoek, Namibia and sign the Treaty establishing the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
18 August, Following meetings between the South African government and the PAC, a broad agreement is reached that could lead to the PAC's inclusion in restructured talks.
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.
9 September, President F.W. de Klerk states that it is "simply not possible to negotiate constitutional issues before the question of violence had been dealt with satisfactorily". He calls for another meeting to be convened urgently with the leadership of the ANC to discuss the issue of violence.
10 September, Winnie Mandela resigns from the Executive of both the ANC and the organization’s Women’s League.
The ANC agrees to urgent talks with the government on the issue of violence.
14 September, In a statement on the National Peace Accord, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of South Africa states that some 3,400 persons had died in political violence in the year following the signing of the Accord.
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.
At a meeting held in Ulundi, IFP leader Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi warns that Zulus would continue carrying cultural weapons.
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, was 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.
28 September, Robert McBride, Barend Strydom, Mehetheleli Mncube and Mzondeleli Nondula are among 150 political prisoners released.
29 September, The Goldstone Commission issues its report on the Bisho massacre.
30 September, Meeting in a special session, the National Executive Committee of the ANC ratified the Record of Understanding between the delegations of the ANC and government, and agreed that it indicated sufficient movement to enable the ANC to return to negotiations. The session 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.
24 October, In a joint statement, Government and the PAC say they agree on the urgent need for the establishment of a more representative forum, which would decide on transitional arrangements leading to a new Constitution.
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.
28 - 30 October, The Commission against Apartheid in Sports meets in New York with representatives of the liberation movements, South African non-racial sports organisations, World Boxing Council and the International Olympic Committee, to review developments on apartheid in sports.
29 October, The first group of European Community observers, including some police officers, lawyers and economists, arrive in South Africa to assist in preventing violence, defusing tension, and promoting peace.
November, The ANC releases its strategic perspectives documents, which opt for an indefinite power-sharing coalition with the National Party.
President F.W. de Klerk spells out a government timetable for a transition to multiracial democracy and that all-race elections will take place by April 1994.
15 November, In line with the Record of Understanding reached between the South African government and ANC, 42 political prisoners are released.
28 November, Four White South Africans are killed and seventeen injured when armed persons stormed into a golf club in King Williams's Town.
December, The IFP releases a constitution for the KwaZulu-Natal region, calling for an autonomous KwaZulu-Natal state.
December, Twenty-three military officers are purged following revelations of illegal and unauthorized activities by the South African Defence Force.
1 December, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) joins the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Africa to assist in the reintegration of returnees, particularly women and children.
10 December, The Concerned South African Group (COSAG)  which was formed by the AWB, IFP, Lucas Mangope of Boputatswana, Oupa Qgozo of the Ciskei and Andries Treumicht of the Conservative Party issues a statement that multi-party talks should be resumed.
22 December, The Secretary-General submits a report to the Security Council on the efforts to establish peace and to promote multi-party negotiations in South Africa.
25 December, Helen Joseph one of the founder members of the Congress of Democrats dies at her home in Johannesburg.
1 January, The Restoration and Extension of South African Citizenship Act is passed which will allow, as of 1 January 1994, for the extension and restoration of citizenship to certain citizens of the Republic of Transkei, Bophuthatwana, Venda and Ciskei. The Abolition of Restrictions on Free Political Activity Act is also published.
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.
7 January, Helen Joseph’s funeral is held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela delivers a speech.
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.  
29 January, At the opening of Parliament, President F.W. de Klerk warns that South Africa will be plunged into a civil war if democratic negotiations fail. Multi-party constitutional talks are to resume in March.
17 February, In a first-phase report, the Commonwealth Observer Mission to South Africa (COMSA) concluded that this country was "one of the world's most violent" based on its homicide rate.
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.
20 February, President F.W. de Klerk reshuffles his cabinet. This comes into effect on 1 April 1993.
1-10 March, A delegation of the Special Committee against Apartheid visits South Africa.
5 March, Delegations from 26 parties and organisations held a two-day multiparty planning conference ending a 10-month deadlock.
7 March, The South African Defence Force's (SADF) 31st Battalion is disbanded at a public ceremony in the Cape Province. This Battalion was composed primarily of the San people who had been deployed in South African townships and who fought in the war in Namibia. This was after the battalion was implicated by the Goldstone Commission in perpetuating political violence. 
22 March, One person is killed when APLA operatives attack the Yellowwoods Hotel in Fort Beaufort.
26 March, The 32nd battalion composed of composed mainly of Angolans from the former Front For the Liberation of Angola Army (FLNA) is also disbanded after it was also fingered by the Goldstone Commission in activities of political violence. 
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.
18 April Clive Derby-Lewis, a former Conservative Party MP and a member of a presidential advisory council, is arrested and formally charged with the murder of Chris Hani. His wife, Gaye, had already been charged, together with J. Walluz.
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.
22 April, People’s Action Front (Volksaksiefront-RAF) is formed. Its membership comprises right wing militant organizations.
23 April, Oliver Tambo dies after suffering a fatal stroke.
26 April, Delegates from twenty-six groups meet to resume constitutional negotiations.
May, The Conservative Party and 20 other right wing groups come together and   form the Afrikaner Volksfront (Afrikaner People’s Front) in Pretoria. It is formed to articulate the interest of right-wing groups such as the establishment of an Afrikaner Volkstaat (Afrikaner people state) and promoting unity among the various right wing groups.
Former South African military and police commanders meet to form a ‘Committee of Generals’ to resist Pretoria’s handover to majority Black rule.
1 May, The Highgate Hotel in East London is attacked by members of the PAC’s armed wing APLA killing 5 people.
2 May, Oliver Tambo’s funeral is addressed by Nelson Mandela.
7 May, Twenty-three of the twenty-six parties involved in the Multi-Party Talks at the World Trade Centre, adopt a Declaration of Intent on the setting of an election date for a transitional government.
13 May, The South African government grants diplomatic immunity and privileges to about 100 UN, Commonwealth, European Community and OAU observers through a proclamation in the Government Gazette.
June, Nelson Mandela and IFP leader Buthelezi meet and pledge to work together. The PAC agrees in principle to halt hostilities.
1 June, In working towards an interim government, the Negotiating Council, at a meeting in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, agrees that sufficient progress has been made to enable it to agree on 27 April 1994 as the date for South Africa's first ever non-racial elections. The Council instructs the Technical Committee on Constitutional Matters to draft a transitional constitution that will lead to the drafting and adoption of a final, democratic constitution by an elected Constitutional Assembly.
15 June, The Concerned South African Group (COSAG) storm out of Multi-Party Talks held at Kempton Park.
17 June, The government and the ANC make concessions, allowing COSAG to return to the talks.
25 June, The extremist right wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) interrupts the negotiations when they storm the World Trade Centre in an armoured vehicle, breaking the glass front of the building. Afrikaner right wing groups were opposed to the negotiation and transition process. 
July, Key points of the interim constitution are outlined. A constitutional compromise is agreed on at Multi-Party Talks.
26 July, Members of APLA opened fire on a congregation in St James Church in Kenilworth, in Cape Town, killing 11 people and injuring fifty others.
10 August, The second draft interim constitution is unveiled.
7 October, The The Concerned South African Group (COSAG) is renamed Freedom Alliance. It seeks to gain concession on federalism from the ANC and to displace the National Party.
8 October, The General Assembly requests States to terminate prohibition or restriction on economic relations with South Africa immediately, and to terminate the oil embargo against South Africa when the Transitional Executive Council in South Africa becomes operational.
15 October, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
15 October, Chris Hani’s assassin, Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walluz are sentenced to death. Clive Derby-Lewis’ wife, Gaye, is acquitted.
27 October, The State Presidents Office assents to the Transitional Executive Council Act, No. 151. This Act establishes the Transitional Executive Council, whose main purpose is to ensure free and fair elections.
2 November, Moven Mahachi the Minister of Defence in Zimbabwe facilitates talks between the APLA and representatives of the South African government in Harare. The PAC eventually agrees to end confrontation with the government. 
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.
28 November, The Afrikaner Broederbond adopts a new constitution, which will allow women and all race groups as members, as long as they all speak Afrikaans. It will in future be known as the Afrikanerbond.
2 December, Multi-Party negotiators agree to the reincorporation of the TBVC states (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei).
8 December, Winnie Mandela is elected President of the ANC Women’s League. This automatically guarantees her a position on the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
8 October, The President of the General Assembly announces the repeal of the oil embargo against South Africa in view of the installation of the TEC.
9 December, The UN Electoral Assistance Unit sends a "Needs Assessment Team" to South Africa.
15 December, The South African Parliament votes to restore citizenship to residents of so-called independent states of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, estimated to be about 10 million people.
30 December, APLA operatives Luyanda Gqomfa, Zola Mabala and Vuyisile Madasi attack the Heidelberg Tavern in Observatory, Cape Town killing four people and injuring three others.
January, Moves are made to deploy a 10,000 strong National Peacekeeping Force.
16 January, The PAC suspends its armed struggle and its guerrillas disarm.
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.
25 January, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 is passed.
2 February, President F.W. de Klerk announces that South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections would be held on 26-28 April.
14 February, At a meeting in Durban City hall Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini tells President F.W. de Klerk that he is prepared to set up a Zulu Kingdom. In a memorandum he presents to President F.W. de Klerk, the King rejects South Africa's interim constitution.
16 February, Nelson Mandela announces six constitutional concessions to defuse Black and White threats of conflict. Amongst them are a change from a single to a double-ballot system and provision for each province to determine its form of government.
17 February, The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) hires 10,300 observers to monitor the first democratic election in April.
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.
25-27 February, The Women's National Coalition Conference (WNC) takes place at the World Trade Centre, Kempton Park. The focus of the conference is on drafting the Women's Charter, which is adopted on the last day, and on the future of the WNC.
March, The Goldstone Commission of Inquiry releases a report suggesting that top police officers masterminded ‘third force’ activities aimed at destabilizing the country ahead of the forthcoming April general election.
1 March, Chief Buthelezi announces that he is considering registering the IFP for the forthcoming April general election.
March, The Freedom Front (FF) is founded by members of the Afrikaner right under Constand Viljoen.
4 March, General Constand Viljoen registers his new party with the IEC to the surprise of many right-wing Afrikaner parties.
7 March, The Bophuthatswana Cabinet continues to oppose registration.
9 March, Widespread revolt grips Bophuthatswana as demonstrators, demanding the reincorporation of the nominally independent homeland into South Africa, clash with the police.
14 March, TEC management committee decides on new administration of Bophuthatswana after widespread revolt.
15 March, The ANC’s national election manifesto is made public.
15 March, Nelson Mandela receives a tumultuous welcome in Bophuthatswana after the overthrow of homeland leader Lucas Mangope.
22 March, In the homeland of Ciskei, a mutiny by police and defence forces leads to the resignation of Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. The TEC immediately sent representatives to take over control of the homeland and deploys troops.
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.
21 April, Two days after the IFP agrees to participate in South Africa's first non-racial elections, security officials and independent monitoring groups report that political violence had dropped dramatically in the country.
23 April, The government, the ANC and the Freedom Front sign an agreement establishing a framework for a separate state for Whites. The AWB rejects the agreement.
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%.
27 April, South Africa's interim constitution comes into force and the new flag is raised.
28 April, President F.W. de Klerk approves a recommendation by the IEC to extend polling by one day in areas plagued by voting problems.
The ANC publishes its Reconstruction and Development Programme.
2 May, Nelson Mandela makes a speech announcing the ANC’s election victory.
3 May, South Africa resumes full membership of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
4 May, UNESCO invites South Africa to rejoin the organisation.
6 May, When announcing the final results of the election, the Chairman of the IEC, Judge Johan Kriegler said that the 26-29 April elections were substantially free and fair.
10 May, Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as the President of South Africa.
11 May, President Nelson Mandela announces his cabinet.
20 May, For the first time, South Africa is represented at a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
22 May, Dr Zach de Beer leader of the Democratic Party is replaced by Tony Leon.
23 May, South Africa becomes the fifty third member of the OAU.
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.
25 May, The Security Council adopts a resolution lifting its 1977 Arms Embargo and other restrictive measures against South Africa thus removing the remaining United Nations sanctions against South Africa [Resolution 919(1994)].
Justice Richard Goldstone calls for the establishment of a "truth commission" on apartheid atrocities.
The South African flag is raised at the headquarters of the OAU in Addis Ababa.
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 of Trade, Trevor Manuel, discloses that South Africa had been formally invited to join SADC.
31 May, South Africa joins the Non-Aligned Movement.
1 June, South Africa rejoins the Commonwealth after withdrew from the organisation 33 years ago.   
23 June, The General Assembly approves the credentials of the South African delegation, and removes the item on apartheid from its agenda.
July, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) appoints Ronnie Kasrils as Deputy Defence Minister, and MK chief of staff Siphiwe Nyanda as SANDF first Black chief of staff. Seven former MK members are appointed generals.
August, Anglican Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, criticizes government for selling arms to Rwanda and the Sudan and for approving salary increases for parliamentarians.
1 August, Deputy President F.W. de Klerk issues a statement that he does not intend to leave the Government of National Unity.
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.
7 September, The State of Emergency is lifted in KwaZulu-Natal.
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.
20 September, King Goodwill Zwelithini and the Zulu Royal Family sever all ties with Chief Buthelezi. This followed a stoning and storming of the royal palace by IFP youths during a meeting between the King, Buthelezi and President Nelson Mandela at the King’s Enyokeni Palace. 
October, Tony Leon is appointed national leader of the Democratic Party.
October, The Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA) merges with AZAPO.
31 October, Professor Sibusiso Bhengu, Education Minister states that Government would cut funding for White schools as part of a plan to achieve equity in 4-5 years.
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.
8 November, Parliament adopts the Restitution of Land Act by 212 to 26, with IFP and Freedom Front opposing it. South Africans forcibly removed from land since 1913 can therefore lodge claims for return of land.
10 November, The Justice Select Committee approves the Human Rights Commission Bill.
15 November, The government releases its White Paper on the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).
17 November, The Restitution of Land Rights Bill is passed by President Nelson Mandela and signed into law.
2 December, South Africa signs the Marrakesh Agreement, which establishes the World Trade Organization.
3 December, The Afrikaner Volksfront transforms itself into an umbrella body for 30 organizations striving for Afrikaner self-determination in a sovereign state.
12 December, South Africa is re-admitted to UNESCO.
17 December, The ANC holds its forty-ninth National Conference in Bloemfontein. Its Strategy and Tactics document: From Resistance to Reconstruction and Development adopted and is to guide the organization over the next three years.

Last updated : 04-May-2012

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

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