About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

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1991

At the conference of the ANC Nelson Mandela is elected President. Oliver Tambo, who served as President from 1969 to 1991 was elected National Chairperson

Industrial Relations Act No 27:

Prohibited worker bodies from registering with unions based outside the homeland, and unions from contributing or to receiving money from any organisation banned under the 1979 Internal Security Act or any other security law.

KwaNdebele: Labour Relations Act No 19:

Commenced: 10 January 1992

Patricia De Lille leads PAC delegation at CODESA.

Sonia Bunting returns from exile and continues political work.

Winnie Mandela elected to ANC's National Executive Committee and President of ANC Women's League.

Gill Marcus elected to ANC National Executive Committee.Leading up to 1994 elections, she trains ANC media workers and voter educators and accompanies Nelson Mandela on his election campaign.

January 1991

205 white government schools admit black children for the first time (RRS 1991/2: xxxiii).

1 January 1991

Cross Border Arrest, Decree No 12:

Provided mechanisms for cross-border raids.

Commenced: 1 January 1991

8 January 1991

political emancipation, and demands an interim government and constituent assembly. Calls on the government to implement agreements entered into in terms of the Groote Schuur and Pretoria Minutes.

9 January 1991

As the new school year began in South Africa, black children were admitted to 205 schools previously reserved for whites only (out of 2000 such public schools) where parents had voted in favour of racial integration.

28 January 1991

The ANC announced 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 1991

Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the Inkatha Freedom Party, meet in Durban and issue a statement on a joint peace strategy.

Signs the Southern African Convention with Regard to Energy and Energy-Related Matters.

29 January 1991

A summit meeting was held in Durban between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party. The meeting was addressed by Zulu 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 1991

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 is to be scrapped. He also unveils a manifesto for a New South Africa.

1 February 1991

In a speech given at the opening of the parliamentary session in Cape Town, South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk announced that legislation would be tabled shortly for the repeal of the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936, the Group Are s Act of 1966 and the Development of Black Communities Act of 1984, as well as the Population Registration Act of 1950. The repeal of the latter would be accompanied by the adoption of temporary transitional measures. President de Klerk also declared his opposition to the idea of a constituent assembly and to that of an interim government.

12 February 1991

According to the D.F. Malan Accord, signed between the South African government and the ANC, the government reaffirms the right to peaceful protest and that ANC guerrillas will not be harassed.

12 February 1991

Following a 12-hour meeting in Cape Town between President de Klerk and ANC Deputy-President Nelson Mandela, they announced that they had resolved differences on the interpretation of the Pretoria Minute. Under the new agreement, the authorities undertook to expedite the return of exiles and the release of political prisoners while the ANC assented to end the recruitment and training of cadres for its armed branch - Umkhonto we Sizwe.

16 February 1991

The Committee of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, meeting in London, issues a statement to the effect that sanctions against South Africa will remain until the South African government's promise to repeal the Group Areas Act, the Land Acts and Population Registration Act is put into concrete action.

27 February 1991

The ANC published a statement condemning the lifting of the moratorium on death sentences by the South African authorities. The suspension of all executions had been part of the measures announced by President de Klerk on 2 February 1990 and had also been mentioned in the Pretoria Minute.

March 1991

The first group of political exiles return to South Africa and the government releases forty (mainly ANC) political prisoners. Amongst these, is Piet 'Skiet' Rudolph, a prominent Right Winger facing charges of planting bombs and theft of arms and ammunition.

2 March - 3 March 1991

It is announced at a Convention that the United Democratic Front is to end its activities and will formally disband on the 20th August.

3 March 1991

The SACP is formally launched in Natal at a rally held at Currie's Fountain Stadium in Durban.

4 March 1991

The United Democratic Front (UDF) announced that it would cease its activities immediately an formally dissolve next August.

12 March 1991

A White Paper on Land Reform is tabled to repeal the Group Areas and Land Acts.

21 March 1991

Foreign Minister Roelf Botha announced that South Africa had agreed that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would assist with the process of the return to South Africa of political exiles.

21 March 1991

Foreign Minister Roelof Botha announced that South Africa had agreed that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would assist with the process of the return to South Africa of political exiles. Substantive issues concerning the modalities of the repatriation process are yet to be agreed on.

22 March 1991

Signs an agreement with the Republic of Namibia to curb and prevent illegal fishing.

22 March 1991

Authorities granted indemnity from prosecution to 2,605 anti-apartheid activists and members of far right groups. The indemnity included 1,819 members of Umkhonto we Sizwe.

28 March 1991

Internal Security Amendment Act No 5:

Continued to bar registered political parties other than the ruling party from holding meetings without official permission.

Commenced: 28 March 1991

April 1991

The Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC adopt a five-year plan to end violence between their supporters.

President de Klerk rejects ANC's ultimatum that it will abandon constitutional talks unless it dismisses the Minster of Defence, General Magnus Malan and the Minister of Police, Adriaan Vlok, and -that those and other demands be met by 9th May.

President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela visit the United Kingdom in quick succession.

8 April 1991

The government appoints a new Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Dr George Marais, a new Minister of Transport Peter J. Welgemoed, David de Villiers Graaf as Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, and AT. Meyer as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

15 April - 16 April 1991

The ANC and the PAC hold a joint conference in Harare, brokered by President Robert Mugabe.

19 April 1991

South Africa:Signs agreement concerning the exchange of representatives and their privileges and immunities with the Democratic Republic of Madagascar.

May 1991

The ANC boycotts a government-sponsored conference to end violence, accusing the government of fomenting it.

European Community decided to remove ban on importation of Krugerrands.

2 May 1991

In response to the ANC ultimatum to suspend negotiations if its demands are not met by 9th May, President de Klerk during his budget vote in 30 Parliament, offers to include black South African opposition groups in his cabinet and amend tough security laws.

2 May 1991

President Frederik Willem de Klerk announced plans to revise some provisions of the Internal Security Act of 1982. He also offered to include Black opposition leaders in his Cabinet and announced a 10-point plan to combat violence.

In response to Pretoria's failure to meet the 30 April deadline, 364 political prisoners throughout South Africa started an indefinite hunger strike.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) lifted South Africa's suspension from international ice hockey.

8 May 1991

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asked Pretoria to clarify its position on amnesty, as well as on any other obstacles that could prevent the repatriation process of refugees and political exiles.

8 May 1991

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asked Pretoria to clarify its position on amnesty, as well as on any other obstacles that could prevent the repatriation process of refugees and political exiles.

President de Klerk announced an immediate ban on "cultural weapons" "excluding at this stage spears" in townships declared as "unrest areas". He also said Pretoria would upgrade the workers' hostels and convert some of them into family accommodations.

9 May 1991

A broad consensus is reached between the government and the ANC to end black violence in townships a day before the ANC's 9th May ultimatum to suspend negotiations unless its demands are met.

12 May 1991

Inkatha supporters rampage through a squatter camp in the Kagiso Township in the West Rand, killing at least twenty-two people.

12 May 1991

The Second International Symposium on Cultural and Academic Links with South Africa, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid took place in Los Angeles. The Symposium reaffirmed the need for the cultural boycott together with "appropriate assistance to the anti-apartheid structures and to the disadvantaged sectors of the society". Academic and cultural activities having the intent and effect of opposing apartheid should be encouraged.

12 May 1991

The Second International Symposium on Cultural and Academic Links with South Africa, organised by the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid took place in Los Angeles. The Symposium reaffirmed the need for the cultural boycott together with "appropriate assistance to the anti-apartheid structures and to the disadvantaged sectors of the society". Academic and cultural activities having the intent and effect of opposing apartheid should be encouraged.

Winnie Mandela was 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 received a six-year prison sentence, but was released on bail after her lawyers filed an appeal.

14 May 1991

Winnie Mandela sentenced to six years imprisonment on charges of kidnapping and being accessory to assault of four township youths at her Soweto home in December 1988.

Signs loan agreement with the Transkei relating to financial and technical assistance for the construction of five police stations.

23 May 1991

The ruling National Party loses the Ladybrand by-election to the Conservative Party.

23 May 1991

President de Klerk said that 21 coloured representatives had joined the ruling National Party.

29 May 1991

Black Communities Development Amendment Act No 77:

Amended the 1984 Black Communities Amendment Act to further regulate the granting and transfer of leasehold and the conversion of leasehold into ownership.

Commenced: 29 May 1991

Repealed by s 72 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

June 1991

The quota system for universities repealed (RRS 1991/92: 184).

5 June 1991

The South African Parliament adopted the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Bill, which will repeal the Group Areas Act No. 36 of 1966, the Black Land Act No. 27 of 1913, the Development Trust and Land Act No. 18 of 1936 and the Black Communities Development Act No. 4 of 1984, with effect on 30 June 1991. A provision in the new Bill would, however, allow neighbourhood committees to set "norms and standards", such as population density, maintenance and cleanliness, in their residential communities.

OAU summit decision to continue sanctions, and to review them.

7 June 1991

The Special Committee against Apartheid issued an interim report on developments in South Africa covering the first half of 1991. Noting the "limited progress achieved in removing the obstacles to negotiations" and the pervasive violence affecting the country, the report said that "the prospects for a speedy end to apartheid and the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa appeared to be less promising now than a year ago.

7 June 1991

The United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid issued an interim report on developments in South Africa covering the first half of 1991. Noting the "limited progress achieved in removing the obstacles to negotiations" and the pervasive violence affecting the country, the report said that "the prospects for a speedy end to apartheid and the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa appeared to be less promising now than a year ago.

8 June 1991

President F.W. de Klerk pays a two day visit to Kenya.

9 June 1991

President de Klerk visits Kenya.

10 June 1991

Speaking before journalists, a retired army major, Mr. 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 denied these allegations.

11 June 1991

Australian Foreign Minister arrived in SA for a week's visit.

15 June 1991

The Association of West European Parliamentarians for Action against Apartheid, with the support of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, organised an international conference in Prague (Czechoslovakia). The conference focused on "Eastern Europe and Southern Africa: Supporting Democracy and Development".

15 June 1991

The Association of West European Parliamentarians for Action against Apartheid, with the support of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, organised an international conference in Prague (Czechoslovakia). The conference focused on "Eastern Europe and Southern Africa: Supporting Democracy and Development".

17 June 1991

The Population Registration Act is repealed.

17 June 1991

The South African Parliament voted to repeal the Population Registration Act, No. 30 of 1950. The population register will, however, be maintained until a new constitution is negotiated.

19 June 1991

Norway announced it plans to open an embassy in Pretoria later this year.

20 June 1991

Kenya ended ban on sports links with SA.

21 June 1991

The Internal Security Act is amended to remove certain police powers allowing detention without trial.

21 June 1991

The South African Parliament voted to amend the Internal Security Act No. 74 of 1982. Police will in the future need the permission of a Supreme Court judge to hold a suspect for longer than ten days and detainees have the right to legal counsel. The amendments also rule out the placement of political opponents under house arrest and the ban on dissident organisations and newspapers.

The promotion of communism is now allowed, for the first time since 1950.

22 June 1991

A church-sponsored peace conference for the first time included the authorities, ANC, IFP, PAC and the Azanian People's Organisation Representatives of the South African Communist Party, other parliamentary parties and trade unions also attended. A "preparatory committee" was formed which included 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.

23 June - 24 June 1991

A peace summit brokered by the clergy and business and attended by all major political parties, but boycotted by the Conservative Party, is held to end the violence.

25 June - 27 June 1991

International Conference on the Educational Needs of the Victims of Apartheid in South Africa, UNESCO House, Paris, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid and UNESCO, in cooperation with the Advisory Committee of the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa. Participants included South African experts on education, representatives of donor countries, non- governmental organisations, specialised agencies and the national liberation movements.

The Paris Statement adopted by the Conference called on Pretoria to address urgently the education crisis in South Africa by taking appropriate political, legal, financial and other measures. It also called on the international community to assist towards that end.

25 June 1991

Six persons were killed and 18 injured when gunmen opened fire on a crowded commuter train in Soweto.

27 June 1991

Foreign Minister Roloef Botha announced that Pretoria had agreed to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Emergency Agency.

28 June 1991

South Africa decides to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

28 June 1991

Population Registration Act Repeal Act No 114:

Repealed the 1950 Population Registration Act. The population register as compiled by the 1986 Identification Act was to remain in effect until the 1983 Republic of South Africa Constitution Act was repealed.

Commenced: 28 June 1991

IN FORCE: CENSUS AND STATISTICS.

30 June 1991

Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108:

Provided for the repeal of the 1913 Black Land Act, the 1936 Development Trust and Land Act, the 1966 Group Areas Act and the 1984 Black Communities Development Act. 'A total of 189 sections and acts that had supported racial discrimination in respect of land legislation regarding rural areas under the administration of the House of Representatives and the non-independent homelands were also repealed by the Act' (RRS 1991/1992: 385; see also 339-42). The promulgation of this Act 'did not affect the legal status of the non-independent homelands, their geographical definitions or their administrative structures' (RRS 1991/92: 385).

Promulgated: 28 June 1991

Commenced: 30 June 1991, except s 72: 1 September 1991, s 23: 1 April 1992, ss 4(1), 14(1), 17(1), 18(1), 19(1), 27(1), 35(1), 41(1), 43(1), 46(1): to be proclaimed IN FORCE: LAND (as amended by the Housing Amendment Act No 6 of 1996: HOUSING)

1 July 1991

African National Congress (ANC) spokesman Saki Macozoma described as "pure propaganda", the announcement by President Frederik Willem de Klerk that all political prisoners had been released.

Finland lifted trade sanctions against SA.

Egypt Air made its first scheduled direct flight from Cairo to Johannesburg.

2 July 1991

The ANC holds its first National Conference in Durban after a break of more than thirty years. Cyril Ramaphosa is appointed its Secretary General. Nelson Mandela is elected President, and Walter Sisulu, deputy President of the organization.

2 July - 6 July 1991

ANC National Conference in Durban.

3 July 1991

Foreign Ministers of Kenya and SA meet in Pretoria.

5 July 1991

The National Conference of ANC elected Nelson Mandela as its new President and Walter Sisulu as its Deputy President, while Oliver Tambo became National Chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa Secretary General and Jacob Zuma Deputy Secretary General. Thomas Nkobi retained his post as Treasurer General.

8 July 1991

South Africa:Signs memorandum of understanding with Great Britain concerning drug trafficking.

8 July 1991

South Africa signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, thus permitting the inspection of all its nuclear facilities.

Douglas Hurd, UK Foreign Secretary, on 3-day visit to SA, met de Klerk, Mandela and PAC President Clarence Makwetu.

9 July 1991

The International Olympic Committee recognised the Interim National Olympic Committee of South Africa, thus paving the way for that country's participation in the next Olympic Games. The South African Council on Sports, as well as PAC, condemned this move as premature.

The International Olympic Committee readmitted South Africa as a full member. (21 years after exclusion)

10 July 1991

The United States lifts certain sanctions against South Africa.

10 July 1991

South Africa signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, thus permitting the inspection of all its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

United States President George Bush signed an executive order terminating the sanctions against South Africa based on the determination that the South African authorities had met all five conditions set forth in the US Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. However, local and state sanctions remained, as well as the ban on arms and on support for International Monetary Fund loans to South Africa. President Bush also announced that assistance to black South Africans would be doubled from its current level of $40 million. The Special Committee against Apartheid, ANC, PAC and the Organisation of African Unity, as well as various United States organisations criticised the lifting of sanctions as premature.

10 July 1991

United States President George Bush signed an executive order terminating the sanctions against South Africa based on the determination that the South African authorities had met all five of the conditions set forth in the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (CAA) of 1986. However, local and state sanctions will remain as well as the ban on arms and on support for International Monetary Fund loans to South Africa. President Bush also announced that assistance to black South Africans would be doubled from its present level of $40 million. The Special Committee against Apartheid, ANC, PAC and the Organisation of African Unity as well as various United States organisations criticised the lifting of sanctions as premature.

The International Cricket Council agreed to grant full membership to the United Cricket Board of South Africa, which should allow South African players to participate in Test matches by the end of 1991.

12 July 1991

Switzerland announced lifting of a directive, in force since 1974, which limited export of capital to SA.

14 July 1991

Israel announced lifting of sanctions imposed in 1987; ban on new military contracts would remain.

15 July 1991

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of USSR and South African Chamber of Mines signed agreement to promote exchange of information on mining development.

19 July 1991

In a report published in the New Nation, a former South African army sergeant., Mr. 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.

Danish Parliament rejected a government proposal to lift sanctions against SA.

(Denmark's stand prevents European Community from lifting ban on trade with SA in iron, steel and gold coins).

21 July 1991

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 1991

Following an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee, ANC called, 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 1991

The Inkatha gate 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 1991

Protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations with Hungary.

24 July 1991

Hungary and SA agreed to upgrade their relations to ambassadorial level.

25 July 1991

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.

29 July 1991

President de Klerk announced that Mr. Magnus Malan would lose his Defence portfolio to Mr. Roelf Meyer and become Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry (and Minister for Housing and Works in the House of Assembly), and that Mr. Adriaan Vlok, replaced by Mr. Hernus Kriel as Law and Order Minister, would become Minister for Correctional Services and of the Budget for the House of Assembly.

The assignment of Magnus Malan, Minister of Defence, and Adrian Vlok, Minister of Law and Order, to other portfolios followed scandals about secret grants to Inkatha and its trade unions.

30 July 1991

In a major cabinet reshuffle, Law and Order Minister, Adriaan Vlok and Defence Minister General Magnus MaIm, are demoted to ministries of Correctional Services and Water Affairs & Forestry, respectively.

30 July 1991

Addressing a nationally televised press conference, President de Klerk announced that all special projects which could be considered to constitute support for political parties had been cancelled, that legislation pertaining to secret funds would be reviewed and that he would appoint a small advisory committee from the private sector to advise him on existing secret special projects.

31 July 1991

Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act No 138:

Abolished indefinite detention without trial and limited detention without trial to ten days. Abolished s 55, which had prohibited the furthering of the aims of communism (RRS 1991/92: 466).

Repealed:

Ø     the 1950 Internal Security Act (parts not repealed earlier);

Ø     the General Law Further Amendment Act No 93 of 1963 (s 22);

Ø     section 23 of the 1966 General Law Amendment Act;

Ø     the 1967 Terrorism Act (parts not repealed earlier);

Ø     sections 13-14 of the 1976 Internal Security Amendment Act;

Ø     the 1986 Internal Security Amendment Act in its entirety.

Commenced: 31 July 1991

IN FORCE: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE.

August 1991

The National Party outlines its constitutional proposals to be tabled at its Federal Congress on 4th September which calls for a scrapping of the current single presidential head of state, to be replaced by a council of three to five members.

Umkhonto we Sizwe, 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.

1 August 1991

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) issued a statement calling into question the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)'s "legitimacy as an independent force", criticising the Government's response to revelations on the secret funding of political organisations and calling for the creation of a "transitional authority charged with the task of preparing the country for a democratic constitution".

2 August 1991

In a statement recalling the principles for a new constitutional order enunciated in the 1989 United Nations Declaration on Apartheid, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) said that a "democratically mandated Constituent Assembly is the ideal and most desirable way to establish legitimate government in our country".

7 August 1991

USSR Deputy Foreign Minister Valeri Nikolayenko arrived in SA for 5-day visit.

8 August 1991

Argentina and SA agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations.

9 August 1991

A bloody confrontation takes place between the right wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) and government security forces in Ventersdorp.

Signs a multilateral agreement with Transkei, Venda and Ciskei regarding social welfare services in their respective territories.

11 August 1991

Ismael Mahomed became first Black judge appointed to the Supreme Court of South Africa.

13 August 1991

Turkey and SA decided to establish consular relations.

15 August 1991

The South African Government, ANC and IFP agreed 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.

16 August 1991

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the South African Government initialled a Memorandum of Understanding on the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of an estimated 40,000 South African returnees. The agreement provided for a comprehensive amnesty for all political offences, a mechanism allowing the UNHCR to make representations on behalf of persons not granted amnesty, the establishment of an UNHCR presence in South Africa and complete freedom of movement for returnees within South Africa.

16 August 1991

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the South African Government initialled a Memorandum of Understanding on the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of an estimated 40,000 South African returnees. The agreement provides for a comprehensive amnesty for all political offences, a mechanism allowing the UNHCR to make representations on behalf of persons not granted amnesty, the establishment of an UNHCR presence in South Africa and complete freedom of movement for returnees within South Africa.

16 August 1991

KaNgwane: Regulations for Administration and Control of Townships in Black Areas Amendment Act No 3:

Commenced: 16 August 1991

16 August 1991

KaNgwane: Black Areas Land Regulation Amendment Act No 5:

Commenced: 16 August 1991

19 August 1991

South African Catholic Bishops Conference decided that economic sanctions were no longer necessary.

20 August 1991

United Democratic Front (UDF) dissolved.

26 August 1991

South Africa:Signs a co-operation agreement with Transkei regarding structural adjustment.

27 August 1991

Finland opened official economic relations with SA and raised diplomatic relations to ambassadorial level.

28 August 1991

Johannesburg Star reported that Algeria called for normal relations with SA.

4 September 1991

Key points of the National Party's constitutional proposals are outlined at its special Federal Congress. Various political parties react.

Signs a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of South African returnees.

4 September 1991

In his second progress report on the implementation of the United Nations 1989 Declaration on Apartheid, the Secretary-General found that "over the last 12 months the process towards the end of apartheid in South Africa, although halting, has remained on course".

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and South Africa signed Memorandum of Understanding concerning amnesty for South African refugees and political exiles.

4 September 1991

In his second progress report on the implementation of the United Nations 1989 Declaration on Apartheid and Its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa, the Secretary-General of the United Nations 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 signed Memorandum of Understanding concerning amnesty for South African refugees and political exiles.

The agreement provided for comprehensive amnesty, mechanism allowing UNHCR to make representation on behalf of persons not granted amnesty, establishment of UNHCR presence in South Africa and complete freedom of movement for returnees within South Africa.

5 September 1991

SA and Czechoslovakia resumed diplomatic relations severed since 1963.

6 September 1991

Venda Reincorporation Forum Act No 5:

Provided for the reincorporation of Venda into South Africa.

Commenced: 6 September 1991

7 September 1991

Testifying before the Supreme Court on the killing of Chief Mhlabunzima Maphumulo, Mr. Sipho Madlala claimed that the assassination in which he allegedly participated had been organised by a security branch policeman, namely Warrant Officer Wolfgang Warber.

11 September 1991

Oregon State legislature rescinded 1987 legislation banning investment of State funds in companies doing business with SA.

General Obasanjo and a delegation of 16 Nigerians met de Klerk, Mandela, Buthelezi etc.

12 September 1991

South Africa:Signs trade agreement with the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.

12 September 1991

Czechoslovakia and SA sign trade agreement.

14 September 1991

A National Peace Accord is signed by all major political organizations at a Conference held at the Canton Hotel. The PAC and AZAPO attend proceedings, but refuse to sign the accord, while right wing organizations refuse to participate in the session.

14 September 1991

National Peace accord signed in Johannesburg by 23 political parties and organisations including the ANC, the Inkatha Freedom Party 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 R. J. Goldstone) to monitor implementation of the accord.

Commonwealth Committee of Foreign Ministers on Southern Africa, meeting in New Delhi, reiterated "programmed management" approach to sanctions. It recommended that "people-to-people" sanctions can now be lifted.

(Note: ANC also supported tactical flexibility in phased use of sanctions)

16 September 1991

Safeguards Agreement between IAEA and South Africa: South Africa signed an agreement allowing the inspection of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

16 September 1991

Safeguards Agreement between IAEA and South Africa: South Africa signed an agreement allowing the inspection of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

18 September 1991

Signs a trade agreement with the government of Poland.

18 September 1991

General Ronnie van der Westhuizen, head of the South African special investigations unit on political violence, said that 24 policemen had been suspended and would face charges ranging from assault to murder for their role in the fostering of township violence.

Poland signed trade agreement with SA, formalising end of trade sanctions.

19 September 1991

South Africa's first public bond issue since 1985, led by Deutsche Bank in Europe, was successful.

23 September 1991

Mandela supported SA's bid to play in next year's cricket World Cup.

24 September 1991

Austria announced that it was lifting most of its economic sanctions, including ban on investments, for a year.

25 September 1991

French Trade and Industry Minister on week-long visit to SA.

27 September 1991

United States Government decided to grant 12.5 million rand to ANC and 7 million rand to Inkatha.

The first Turkish Consul-General in SA assumed his post.

27 September 1991

Demonstration in or near Court Buildings Prohibition Act No 10:

Prohibited certain public gatherings and demonstrations.

Commenced: 27 September 1991

29 September 1991

Reverend Allan Boesak was elected Chairman of the ANC's Western Cape region.

30 September 1991

Signs multilateral agreement with the governments of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei for the avoidance of double taxation, the prevention of fiscal evasion, the rendering of mutual assistance and co-operation and the establishment of a transfer system with respect to Value Added Tax.

1 October 1991

Aliens Control Act No 96:

Replaced all previous legislation regarding foreigners entering, leaving or being resident in the country.

Commenced: 1 October 1991

IN FORCE: ALIEN AND CITIZEN.

2 October 1991

South Africa:Signs an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugees governing the legal status, privileges and immunities of the UNHCR office and its personnel in South Africa.

2 October 1991

Netherlands announced partial lifting of sports sanctions; SA sportspersons will no longer require visas.

SA Foreign Minister, R. F. Botha, visited Beijing.

3 October 1991

The European Community issued a communiqué expressing concern at "the continued detention of political prisoners in the so-called independent homelands" and calling for the release of all South African political prisoners without delay.

8 October 1991

SA Foreign Minister R. F. Botha on 3-day visit to Australia.

23 October 1991

Signs an agreement with the League of The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies regarding the establishment of a delegation in South Africa.

Exchange of notes with Lesotho to amend the Trade Mission Agreement of 30 April 1987.

25 October 1991

Patriotic Front conference in Durban.

26 October 1991

A Patriotic Front Conference convened by the ANC and the PAC takes place in Durban.

27 October 1991

At the end of a Patriotic/United Front Conference held in Durban and attended by some 90 organisations, 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.

29 October 1991

South Africa:Signs agreement with the government of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and service passports.

South Africa:Signs Protocol with the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic on establishing diplomatic relations and the abolishment of visas.

30 October 1991

Signs aviation security agreement with the United States.

30 October 1991

The Government of India announced that it was lifting, with immediate effect, all consular and visa restrictions, cultural, sports and scientific boycotts, restrictions on tourism promotion and its ban on direct airlinks with South Africa.

31 October 1991

South Africa:Signs an aviation security agreement with the government of the USA.

November 1991

The South African Law Commission releases a draft Bill of Rights.

1 November 1991

In a book entitled "The Samson Option", journalist Seymour Hersh asserted that Israeli and South African scientists had collaborated over nearly three decades to successfully produce a nuclear bomb, testing at least three warheads off the Cape of Good Hope during the last 1970s.

5 November 1991

At the end of a two-day meeting of consultations, held in Geneva, by the Special Committee against Apartheid with representatives of non-governmental organisations and anti-apartheid movements, participants adopted 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.

5 November 1991

At the end of a two-day meeting of consultations, held in Geneva, by the Special Committee against Apartheid with representatives of non-governmental organisations and anti-apartheid movements, participants adopted 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 1991

The South African cricket team arrived in Calcutta, to play in three one-day matches against the Indian team in South Africa's first international cricket contact since 1970.

11 November 1991

South Africa:Signs memorandum of understanding on multiple co-operation with Israel.

South africa:Signs agreement with Bophuthatswana regarding social pensions, grants and allowances.

15 November 1991

South Africa:Signs an agreement on the promotion of investments with the government of the Republic of China.

South Africa:Signs co-operation agreement with the Republic of China regarding the promotion of investments.

South Africa:Signs amended bilateral air services agreement with the Republic of China.

19 November 1991

Signs Protocol IV to the treaty on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project including supplementary arrangements regarding Phase IA.

19 November 1991

KwaZulu: Labour Relations Amendment Act No 13:

Commenced: 19 November 1991

22 November 1991

Exchange of notes establishing diplomatic relations with Romania.

27 November 1991

According to press reports, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) accused the ANC of being "guilty of deceit and duplicity" and of undermining the Patriotic Front Alliance "in cahoot with the regime". The accusation followed a meeting held in the United Nations on 20 November 1991 by ANC Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. 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 1991

At the end of a two-day preparatory meeting chaired by Judge Ismail Mohammed and Judge Petrus Schabort, 19 political and other organisations decided 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.

The PAC dissociated itself from the final statement read by the two judges chairing the preparatory meeting, saying that it "did not reflect the PAC's position". Several PAC proposals, such as neutral international conveners, the holding of CODESA outside of South Africa and the opening of CODESA's sessions to the media, were rejected by other parties.

December 1991

The SACP held its first legal Congress inside the country and Chris Hani replaces Joe Slovo as Secretary-General of the Party.

4 December 1991

Cabinet is reshuffled, and the head of the mining house, Gencor, Derek Keys, is appointed Minister of Trade and Industry.

8 December 1991

At its first legal congress in four decades, the South African Communist Party (SACP) decided to appoint Mr. Chris Hani as its new general secretary.

9 December 1991

Signs co-operation agreement with Ciskei regarding structural adjustment.

11 December 1991

The first Regional Dispute Resolution Committee was established in Natal in terms of the National Peace Accord signed on 14 September 1991.

12 December 1991

The first group of 120 exiles returning to South Africa under the agreement reached in August by UNHCR and the South African authorities arrived in Johannesburg from Tanzania.

13 December 1991

The General Assembly adopted seven resolutions, three of them by consensus, on the "Policies of Apartheid of the Government of South Africa". It called upon the international community to resume academic, scientific and cultural links with democratic anti-apartheid organisations and sport links with unified non-racial sporting organisations, as well as to review existing restrictive measures as warranted by positive developments.

13 December 1991

The General Assembly called on the international community, in view of the progress made in overcoming obstacles to negotiations, to resume academic, scientific and cultural links with democratic and anti-apartheid organisations and individuals in these fields; and to resume sports links with unified non-racial sporting organisations, and assist disadvantaged athletes in that country.

The General Assembly adopted seven resolutions, three of them by consensus, on the "Policies of Apartheid of the Government of South Africa". It called upon the international community to resume academic, scientific and cultural links with democratic anti-apartheid organisations and sport links with unified non-racial sporting organisations, as well as to review existing restrictive measures as warranted by positive developments.

17 December 1991

The Secretary-General announced that Mrs. 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. Mr. Sotirios Mousouris, Assistant Secretary-General for the Centre against Apartheid, would be the third member of the delegation.

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. In a joint statement on 21 December, they said that "the broad objectives expressed in the Declaration of Intent (signed the previous day by participants in CODESA committing themselves "to bring about an undivided South Africa free from apartheid") are a most constructive and auspicious beginning for CODESA and give promise of attainment of true democracy for South Africa".

17 December 1991

The Secretary-General of the United Nations announced that Mrs. 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. Mr. Sotirios Mousouris, Assistant Secretary-General for the Centre against Apartheid, would be the third member of the delegation.

18 December 1991

Signs Protocol with the government of Poland on establishing diplomatic relations.

Exchange of notes with the People's Republic of China regarding the establishment of informal offices in Pretoria and Beijing.

18 December 1991

The Steering Committee of CODESA reached an agreement whereby all parties would commit themselves "politically and morally" to put CODESA's decisions into effect. These decisions, however, would not be legally binding.

Chief Gatsha Buthelezi announced that he would not attend the first session of CODESA, as the decision taken by its Steering Committee not to invite Zulu King Goodwill Zelethini to lead a separate delegation from IFP amounted to an "insult".

20 December - 21 December 1991

The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), holds its first meeting. Seventeen of the nineteen parties attending the Convention sign a Declaration of Intent, committing themselves to multiparty politics.

20 December 1991

Heated verbal exchanges take place between President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela at the CODESA talks.

20 December 1991

The first Plenary session of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) met in Johannesburg. Nineteen organisations, as well the government, were represented.

Seventeen of the 19 political groups (which did not include PAC and CP) participating in the first session of CODESA signed a Declaration of Intent whereby they committed themselves to "bring about an undivided South Africa free from apartheid" and to a number of constitutional principles.

21 December 1991

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. 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. In a joint statement, they said 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".

30 December 1991

Signs agreement with Botswana regarding the establishment of a representative office.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.