Convention for a Democratic South Africa by maclaren1


									Convention for a Democratic South Africa

The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) was a forum for the
negotiations for the end of the apartheid system in South Africa. CODESA took place
against a backdrop of political violence in the country, including allegations of a state-
sponsored third force destabilising the country. Ultimately, CODESA didn't bring the
breakthrough towards a new South Africa. This was achieved later.

Initial negotiations
The first significant steps towards formal negotiations took place in February 1990
with the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC) and other banned
organisations by State President F.W. de Klerk, and the release of ANC leader Nelson
Mandela after 27 years in prison.

The negotiations began with a meeting between the African National Congress and
the South African government on 4 May 1990 at the presidential residence, Groote
Schuur. This resulted in the Groote Schuur Minute, a commitment between the two
parties towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation as
well as the removal of practical obstacles to negotiation including indemnity from
prosecution for returning exiles and the release of political prisoners.[1]

On 6 August 1990 the South African government and the African National Congress
extended the consensus to include several new points. This Pretoria Minute included
the suspension of the armed struggle by the ANC and its military wing Umkhonto we

The National Peace Accord of September 1991 was a critical step toward formal
negotiations. It was signed by representatives of twenty-seven political organisations
and national and homeland governments, and prepared the way for the CODESA

The CODESA I plenary session began on 20 December 1991, approximately ten
months after the unbanning of political parties and the release of Nelson Mandela.
The first session lasted a few days, and working groups were appointed to deal with
specific issues. These working groups continued their negotiations over the next
month. The negotiations took place at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park.[2]

CODESA participants

Nineteen groups were represented at CODESA, including the South African
government, the National Party, the African National Congress, the South African
Communist Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Party, the South
African Communist Party, the South African Indian Congress, the Coloured Labour
Party, the Indian National People's Party and Solidarity Party, and the leaders of the
nominally independent bantustans of Transkei, Ciskei, Bophuthatswana and Venda.
The right-wing white Conservative Party and the left-wing Pan Africanist Congress
boycotted CODESA. Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi personally
didn't participate because his demands for additional delegations of the homeland
KwaZulu and the Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini were declined. The IFP was
therefore represented by Frank Mdlalose at CODESA.

In the period between CODESA I and CODESA II in early 1992, the National Party
lost three by-elections to the Conservative Party. De Klerk announced that a "whites
only" referendum would be held on the issue of reforms and negotiation. The result
was a landslide victory for the "yes" side, with over 68% of the voters voting for a
continuation of the reforms and negotiations.

CODESA II (the second plenary session) took place in May 1992. In June 1992, the
Boipatong massacre took place, with 46 residents of Boipatong killed by mainly-Zulu
hostel dwellers. Mandela accused De Klerk's government of complicity in the attack
and withdrew the ANC from the negotiations, leading to the end of CODESA.

Negotiation issues

During the negotiations, De Klerk's government pushed for a two-phase transition
with an appointed transitional government with a rotating presidency. The ANC
pushed instead for a transition in a single stage to majority rule.

Other key issues during the transition included minority rights, decisions on a unitary
or federal state, property rights, indemnity from prosecution for politically motivated
crimes, and the end of the ANC's armed struggle.

Subsequent negotiations
On 26 September 1992 the government and the ANC agreed on a Record of
Understanding. This dealt with a constitutional assembly, an interim government,
political prisoners, hostels, dangerous weapons and mass action and restarted the
negotiation process after the failure of CODESA.[3]

Two key negotiators were Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC, and Roelf Meyer of the
National Party, who formed a close friendship.[4]

It was Joe Slovo, leader of the South African Communist Party, who in 1992
proposed the "sunset clause" for a coalition government for the five years following a
democratic election, including guarantees and concessions to all sides.[5]

On 1 April 1993 the Multiparty Negotiating Forum (MPNF) gathered for the first
time. In contrast to CODESA, the white right (the Conservative Party and the
Afrikaner Volksunie), the Pan Africanist Congress, the KwaZulu homeland
government and delegations of "traditional leaders" initially participated the
Multiparty Negotiating Forum.
On 10 April 1993, the assassination of Chris Hani, leader of the SACP and a senior
ANC leader, by white right-wingers again brought the country to the brink of disaster,
but ultimately proved a turning point, after which the main parties pushed for a
settlement with increased determination.

The negotiations were dramatically interrupted in June 1993 when the right-wing
Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging stormed the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park,
breaking through the glass front of the building with an armoured car and briefly
taking over the negotiations chamber.

In protest at the perceived sidelining of the mainly-Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP),
Mangosuthu Buthelezi took the IFP out of the MPNF and formed the Concerned
South Africans Group (COSAG; later renamed in "Freedom Alliance") together with
traditional leaders, homeland leaders and white right-wing groups. A period of
brinkmanship followed, with the IFP remaining out of the negotiations until within
days of the election on 27 April 1994.

The MPNF ratified the interim Constitution in the early hours of the morning of 18
November. A Transitional Executive Council oversaw the run-up to a democratic

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