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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Record of Understanding 26 September 1992

1. The attached Record of Understanding was agreed to.

2. On the way forward -

Ø     The two delegations agreed that this summit has laid a basis for the resumption of the negotiation process.

Ø     To this end the ANC delegation advised the South African Government that it would recommend to its National Executive Committee that the process of negotiation be resumed, whereafter extensive bilateral discussions will be held.

Ø     It was agreed that the practicalities with regard to bilateral discussions will be dealt with through the existing channel.

Record of Understanding i. Since 21 August 1992 a series of meetings was held between Mr Roelf Meyer, Minister of Constitutional Development and Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary General of the African National Congress.

These meetings entailed discussions with a view to remove obstacles towards the resumption of negotiations and focused on the identification of steps to be taken to address issues raised in earlier memoranda. The discussions took note of various opposing viewpoints on the relevant issues and obstacles. It was decided that these issues should not be dealt with exhaustively in the understanding. This document reflects the understanding reached at the conclusion of the discussions regarding these obstacles and issues.

2. The understandings on issues and obstacles included the following, although it was observed that there are still other important matters that will receive attention during the process of negotiation:

(a) The Government and the ANC agreed that there is a need for a democratic constitution assembly/constitution-making body and that for such a body to be democratic it must:

Ø     be democratically elected;

Ø     draft and adopt the new constitution, implying that it should sit as a single chamber;

Ø     be bound only by agreed constitutional principles;

Ø     have a fixed time frame;

Ø     have adequate deadlock breaking mechanisms;

Ø     function democratically i.e. arrive at its decisions democratically with certain agreed to majorities; and o be elected within an agreed predetermined time period.

Within the framework of these principles, detail would have to be worked out in the negotiation process.

(b) The Government and the ANC agreed that during the interim/transitional period there shall be constitutional continuity and no constitutional hiatus. In consideration of this principle, it was further agreed that:

Ø     the constitution-making body/constituent assembly shall also act as the interim/transitional Parliament;

Ø     There shall be an interim/transitional government of national unity;

Ø     the constitution-making body/constituent assembly cum interim/transitional Parliament and the interim/transitional government of national unity shall function within a constitutional framework/transitional constitution which shall provide for national and regional government during the period of transition and shall incorporate guaranteed justiciable fundamental rights and freedoms. The interim/transitional Parliament may function as a one or two-chambered body.

(c) The two parties are agreed that all prisoners whose imprisonment is related to political conflict of the past and whose release can make a contribution to reconciliation should be released. The government and the ANC agreed that the release of prisoners, namely, those who according to the ANC fall within the guidelines defining political offences, but according to the government do not, and who have committed offences with a political motive on or before 8 October 1990 shall be carried out in stages (as reflected in a separate document; 'Implementation Programme: Release of Prisoners') and be completed before 15 November 1992. To this end the parties have commenced a process of identification. It is the Government's position that all who have committed similar offences but who have not been charged and sentenced should be dealt with on the same basis. On this question no understanding could be reached as yet and it was agreed that the matter will receive further attention.

As the process of identification proceeds, release shall be effected in the above-mentioned staged manner. Should it be found that the current executive powers of the State do not enable it to give effect to specific releases arising from the above identification the necessary legislation shall be enacted.

(d) The Goldstone Commission has given further attention to hostels and brought out an urgent report on certain matters and developments in this regard. The Commission indicated that the problem is one of criminality and that it will have to investigate which localities are affected. In the meantime some problematic hostels have been identified and the Government has undertaken as a matter of urgency to address and deal with the problem in relation to those hostels that have been associated with violence.

Further measures will be taken, including fencing and policing to prevent criminality by hostel dwellers and to protect hostel dwellers against external aggression. A separate document ('Implementation Programme: Hostels') records the identification of such hostels and the security measures to be taken in these instances.

Progress will be reported to the Goldstone Commission and the National Peace Secretariat. United Nations observers may witness the progress in co-operation with the Goldstone Commission and the National Peace Secretariat.

(e) In the present volatile atmosphere of violence, the public display and carrying of dangerous weapons provokes further tension and should be prohibited. The Government has informed the ANC that it will issue a proclamation within weeks to prohibit countrywide the carrying and display of dangerous weapons at all public occasions subject to exemptions based on guidelines being prepared by the Goldstone Commission. The granting of exemptions shall be entrusted to one or more retired judges. On this basis, the terms of the proclamation and mechanism for exemption shall be prepared with the assistance of the Goldstone Commission.

(f) The Government acknowledges the right of all parties and organisations to participate in peaceful mass action in accordance with the provisions of the National Peace Accord and the Goldstone Commission's recommendations. The ANC for its part reaffirms its commitment to the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties arrived at under the National Peace Accord and the agreement reached on 16 July 1992 under the auspices of the Goldstone Commission as important instruments to ensure democratic political activity in a climate of free political participation. The two parties also commit themselves to the strengthening of the Peace Accord process, to do everything in their power to calm down tension and to finding ways and means of promoting reconciliation in South Africa.

In view of the progress made in this summit and the progress we are likely to make when negotiations are resumed, the ANC expresses its intention to consult its constituency on a basis of urgency with a view to examine the current programme of mass action. 3. The two parties agreed to hold further meetings in order to address and finalise the following matters which were not completed at the summit:

Ø     climate of free political activity;

Ø     repressive/security legislation;

Ø     covert operations and special forces;

Ø     violence.

Agreed to at Johannesburg on 26 September 1992:

F W DE KLERK

State President

N R MANDELA

President: ANC

Implementation programme: hostels

(In terms of the Record of Understanding)

i. The hostels presently identified as problematic and have either had a history or present propensity to violence are listed in annexure 'Hi'.

2.2.1 The Government and the ANC endorse the recommendations by Justice Goldstone in his report to the State President dated the 18 September 1992 that certain hostels are associated with criminality and must be addressed and dealt with by the Government which has the primary responsibility for maintaining law and order.

* The annexures to this document, Hi, H2, and H3, contain logistical details for plans to end violence in hostels; their contents are not of direct concern to this volume and have not been included - H. E.

2.2 The Government, having accepted the Goldstone Commission Report, will fence the following hostels in terms of the definition set out in paragraph 1.1 in annexure 'H2' in order to prevent criminality by hostel-dwellers and to protect the hostel residents from external aggression:

(a) Mzimhlope, Dube Nancefield, Dobsonville and Merafe (all situated in the greater Soweto area)

(b) Madala (situated in Kagiso)

(c) Sebokeng complex (situated in the Vaal area)

3. The following two hostels in KwaZulu, being Umlazi Section T Unit 17 and Kwa Mashu, have been identified by the ANC as being associated with violence. The Government has undertaken to consult with the Kwa Zulu Government in this regard.

4. The measures required to curtail and prevent violence and provide greater security to both the hostel dwellers and township dwellers alike have been identified and defined in annexure 'HZ'.

5. The agreed implementation of these measures (annexure 'H2') in respect of each hostel is detailed in annexure 'H3'.

6. General conditions

6.1 Ownership of hostels

Ownership of hostels shall not be alienated without consultation.

6.2 Communication

6.2.1 A written report detailing all policing work carried out in respect of the identified hostels including a narration of violence occurring, confiscation of weapons, charges brought and all violence related crimes and activities, shall be submitted every two weeks by the police authorities responsible for the security of all hostels to the Minister of Law and Order.

6.2.2 A written report detailing the progress in respect of the implementation of this agreement, including the question of fencing and access control, shall be submitted to the Minister of Local Government and Lands and National Housing every two weeks.

6.2.3 Copies of the above reports shall be made available to the Gold-stone Commission for dissemination to all interested parties.

6.3 Review meetings

Meetings between the ANC and the Government to review the present agreement and reports including review of the list of hostels would take place as often as may be necessary.

6.4 Time frames

6.4.1 Government shall present a detailed programme by no later than the 15th October, 1992 and to commence construction of the first fence(s) on or before the 22nd October, 1992 and to proceed thereafter with all due diligence and the process completed by 15th November 1992. Should a longer period be required for completion of this task, then urgent and more speedy temporary measures regarding fencing together with urgent policing action shall be undertaken immediately.

6.4.2 Government undertakes to commence with the repair work and maintenance in the terms set out in the paragraph above.

6.5 Communication strategy

6.5.1 Liaison with the hostel communities will be undertaken by Government about the fencing programme paying particular attention to the temporary and stabilising features.

6.5.2 Government will further utilise the appropriate media to publicly convey the rationale for the fencing programme in such a manner that tensions are reduced.

6.6 Ownership of private hostels

6.6.1 Government undertakes to meet with the private owners of hostels included in annexure 'Hi' to solicit their co-operation and assistance in the compliance of this agreement. Progress reports in this regard shall be made available.

Document 28

Negotiations: a strategic perspective 25 November 1992

As adopted by the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress - 25 November 1992.

The strategic perspective of the ANC is the transfer of power from the white minority regime to the people as a whole. This will usher in a new era characterised by the complete eradication of the system of apartheid, fundamental socio-economic transformation, peace and stability for all our people. The basic principle underpinning this new order is democratic majority rule.

i. Balance offerees

By the end of the eighties, the strategic balance of forces was characterised by:

1.1 The liberation movement enjoyed many advantages over the regime, both internally and internationally. All the pillars of the struggle had grown from strength to strength:

Ø     a very high level of mass mobilisation and mass defiance had rendered apartheid unworkable;

Ø     the building of the underground had laid a basis for exercising political leadership and was laying a basis for the intensification of the armed struggle;

Ø     the world was united against apartheid.

1.2 At the same time the liberation movement faced certain objective weaknesses:

2.2

2.3

Ø     changes in Southern Africa were making it increasingly difficult for the ANC in the conduct of struggle;

Ø     there was no longer a visible intensification of the armed struggle;

Ø     the international community was making renewed attempts to impose a settlement plan.

1.3 The crisis in Eastern Europe, and the resultant change in the relations between world powers brought the issue of a negotiated resolution of regional conflicts to the fore.

In this context, South Africa was not going to be treated as an exception. Importantly, these changes also exerted new pressures on the regime to fall in line with the emerging international 'culture' of multi-party democracy.

1.4 The apartheid power bloc was no longer able to rule in the old way. Its policies of repression and reform had failed dismally; and it faced an ever-deepening socio-economic crisis. At the same time the liberation movement did not have the immediate capacity to overthrow the regime.

1.5 All these factors set the stage for a negotiated resolution of the South African conflict. The regime was forced to unban the ANC and other organisations, release Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, acknowledge the defeat of the apartheid ideology and seek negotiations with the liberation movement. This constituted a major strategic retreat for the regime and a victory for the democratic forces.

i. Shift in the balance offerees

2.1 The balance offerees is not static. In this phase of the negotiations:

Ø     The regime strives to undermine and weaken the liberation movement through its strategy of Low Intensity Conflict and the beginning of counter-revolutionary war;

Ø     The liberation movement seeks to weaken the capacity of the regime to act against the people and broaden the space for free political activity through a combination of mass mobilisation, international pressure and self-defence.

In the recent period:

The de Klerk regime has suffered a renewed crisis of legitimacy. It continues to fail to win the allegiance of the majority; The regime's camp stands more divided than it ever was since the unbanning of the ANC; its unpatriotic front with some bantustans has collapsed: it is increasingly losing the loyalty of the civil service and important elements in the security forces, many of whom are drifting to the extreme right-wing camp; in the October special session of the tricameral parliament, it failed to secure the support of a single other party outside itself: leading members of the party and government continue to jump ship for reasons of 'fatigue', 'depression' and 'disillusionment':

The regime has lost all ability to arrest the unprecedented socio-economic decline, growing unemployment among both black and white, the general social disintegration and spiralling crime. However: the regime still commands vast state and other military resources: it continues to enjoy the support of powerful economic forces: objectively, the counter-revolutionary violence and the growing potential of long-term counter-revolutionary instability acts as a resource for the regime.

Also in the recent period:

the ANC has established itself as a legal national political organisation:

it commands the support of the majority of South Africa: the liberation movement enjoys the capacity to mobilise large-scale mass action:

it is able to influence and mobilise the international community. However: the liberation movement suffers many organisational weaknesses; it does not command significant military and financial resources; it is unable to militarily defeat the counter-revolutionary movement or adequately defend the people.

2.4 As a result of mass action and negotiations some progress has been made in the recent period. Some examples of these are: the CODESA Declaration of Intent (which establishes national consensus on the broad direction in which the political process should unfold); the Record of Understanding; and broad consensus on the need for an Interim Government and Constituent Assembly. Though the regime has succeeded in delaying the transition, there remains a groundswell of support within society as a whole for a speedy resolution of the political and socio-economic problems.

2.5 In this context, the liberation movement is faced with various options:

(a) resumption of the armed struggle and the perspective of revolutionary seizure of power;

(b) mass action and international pressure, within the broad context of negotiations, until the balance offerees is shifted to such an extent that we secure a negotiated surrender from the regime;

(c) a negotiations process combined with mass action and international pressure which takes into account the need to combat counter-revolutionary forces and at the same time uses phases in the transition to qualitatively change the balance offerees in order to secure a thorough-going democratic transformation.

2.6 These options should be weighed against the following background:

2.6.1 The ANC's National Conference resolved, after weighing various factors - including the possibility of a negotiated resolution of the South African conflict and the objective situation outlined in Section 1 above - that the option of armed seizure of power was neither preferable nor viable at that juncture. The current situation does not warrant a review of this decision of National Conference.

2.6.2 An approach that aims to secure a negotiated surrender from the regime will entail a protracted process with tremendous cost to the people and the country.

2.7 Taking into account:

Ø     the capacity of the liberation movement;

Ø     the capacity of the regime to endlessly delay while consolidating its hold onto power and restructuring in order to undermine future democratic transformation;

Ø     the cost to the people and the country of a protracted negotiations process;

Ø     the need to as urgently as possible address the dire socio-economic needs of the people;

Ø     the need to prevent a further consolidation of the counterrevolutionary forces: the third option, (c), is the most viable and preferable.

2.8 The liberation movement, however, should guard against being captive to a given approach. A combination of factors, including the conduct of the regime, may dictate a need to revisit our approach. Apart from the first two options, this may also include a much more enhanced role for the international community in the negotiations process.

3. Negotiations: the preferred option of the liberation movement

3.1 A peaceful political settlement has always been the first option of the liberation movement. It was only when the prospect of any peaceful settlement vanished that we adopted the perspective of an armed revolutionary seizure of power. On the other hand, for the regime, it was a failure of arms that imposed the obligation to concede the need for a political settlement.

3.2 Negotiations therefore represent a victory for the democratic movement and a defeat for the forces of apartheid.

3.3 Consequently, it must remain one of our strategic tasks to continue to draw the regime onto the terrain of free political activity, peaceful democratic action and genuine negotiations.

3.4 Delays in the process of peaceful transformation are not in the interests of the masses, who seek liberation now, and do not enhance our possibilities to effect the transformation to genuine democracy as effectively and as speedily as we should.

4. Phases of the democratic revolution

4.1 Our strategic perspective should take into account that the Democratic Revolution - for the attainment of majority rule -will proceed in various phases. Our possibilities relevant to each phase should not be pursued in a manner that produces defeats later because of a failure to recognise the dialectical interconnection between various phases.

4.2 This strategic perspective should recognise the following phases, each one of which has its regularities and objective and subjective demands:

phase i: The period prior to the establishment of the Transitional Executive Council. (In this phase we should aim to: secure an agreement on free and fair elections; Interim Government and Constituent Assembly; stop unilateral restructuring; broaden the space for free political activity; and address the issue of violence.)

phase 2: The period from the establishment of the Transitional Executive Council leading up to the election of the Constituent Assembly and the establishment of an Interim Government of National Unity. (In this phase we should aim to: consolidate peace through joint control over all armed forces; ensure free and fair elections; and mobilise for a decisive victory in the elections.) phase 3: The period of the drafting and adoption of the new constitution by the Constituent Assembly. (In this phase we should aim to: establish an Interim Government in which the ANC would be a major player; adopt a new democratic constitution; and start addressing the socio-economic problems facing the country.)

phase 4: The period of the phasing in of the new constitution, which will include the restructuring of the state machinery and the general dismantling of the system of apartheid. phase 5: The period of the consolidation of the process of democratic transformation and reconstruction.

4.3 At all stages, we should consider carefully the balance of forces, how to change that balance, and therefore place ourselves in a position in which we can determine the correct path to follow to further the process of democratic change. In this context, the broad masses should play a decisive role. The process must be mass-driven.

4.4 The balance offerees, our specific objectives and our long-term goals would at each stage dictate the need to: enter into specific, and perhaps changing, alliances; and, make certain compromises in order to protect and advance this process.

5. Goals of the national liberation struggle and our immediate objectives

5.1 The fundamental goal of the National Liberation Struggle is the transfer of power to the people as a whole and the establishment of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. This should not be confused with the immediate objectives we set for ourselves in each phase of the transition. At the same time, we should ensure that the immediate objectives we pursue do not have the effect of blocking our longer-term goals.

5.2 The objectives we set and can attain in each phase, will depend on the balance of forces.

5.3 We must ensure that in entering a new phase (e.g. the establishment of an Interim Government) the balance offerees is transformed qualitatively in favour of the Democratic Movement. Negotiations can therefore result in the possibility of bringing about a radically transformed political framework (i.e. changing the conjuncture) in which the struggle for the achievement of the strategic perspectives of the National Democratic Revolution will be advanced in more favourable conditions.

5.4 In setting objectives for the present round of negotiations, we must bear in mind that in the main one would not achieve at the table that which one cannot achieve on the ground. Depending on the balance offerees, we might not gain everything we set out to achieve. However, positions we adopt should be informed by our longer-term objectives. Our correct assessment of the balance offerees, the support of the masses and good negotiating tactics should ensure that our gains constitute a decisive leap forward.

5.5 In setting objectives today, our strategy should not focus narrowly on only the initial establishment of democracy, but also (and perhaps more importantly) on how to nurture, develop and consolidate that democracy. Our strategy must at once also focus on ensuring that the new democracy is not undermined. 5.6 Our broad objectives for the first two phases (as distinct from longer term goals) should therefore be:

5.6.1 the establishment of a democratic constitution-making process;

5.6.2 ending the National Party's monopoly of political power;

5.6.3 ensuring a continuing link between democracy and socio-economic empowerment; and

5.6.4 minimising the threat to stability and the democratic process.

6. Engaging the National Party regime

6.1 The objective reality imposes a central role for the ANC and the NP in the transition. The ANC is the custodian of the peace process - while the NP is the party in power. Using various forms of struggle, we ensure that the regime accepts movement forward in the process.

6.2 This means that the balance offerees has forced onto the South African political situation a relationship between the ANC and the NP characterised by:

Ø     in the first place conflict, in so far as the regime attempts to block the transition: and o secondly, constructive interaction in pursuit of agreements the regime has been forced to enter into.

6.3 How to manage this contradiction is one of our challenges of leadership.

7. The need for a government of national unity

7.1 We have already won the demand for an Interim Government of National Unity.

7.2 However, we also need to accept the fact that even after the adoption of a new constitution, the balance offerees and the interests of the country as a whole may still require of us to consider the establishment of a Government of National Unity - provided that it does not delay or obstruct the process of orderly transition to majority rule and that the parties that have lost the elections will not be able to paralyse the functioning of government.

This is fundamentally different from an approach to power-sharing which entrenches veto powers for minority parties.

7.3 Some objectives of a Government of National Unity:

7.3.1 Stability during the period of transition to full democracy: the enemies of democracy will try to destabilise the new government and make democracy unworkable.

7.3.2 Commitment to and responsibility for the process: we should seek, especially in the early stages, to commit all parties to actively take part in the process of dismantling apartheid, building democracy and promoting development in the interest of all.

8. Laying the basis to minimise the threat to stability and democracy

8.1 The new democratic government would need to adopt a wide range of measures in order to minimise the potential threat to the new democracy. However, some of these measures may have to be part and parcel of a negotiated settlement. The new government will also need to take into account the need to employ the talents and capacities of all South Africans, as well as the time it will take to implement an urgent programme of advancing the skills of those who have all along been deprived.

8.2 Strategic forces we need to consider right now are the SADF, SAP, all the other armed formations and the civil service in general. If die transition to democracy affects all the individuals in these institutions wholly and purely negatively, then they would serve as fertile ground from which the destabilisers would recruit.

8.3 Not only do these forces have vast potential to destabilise a fledgling democracy in die future, but as importandy, they have die potential to delay die transition for a lengthy period of time or even make serious attempts to subvert the transition.

8.4 A democratic government will need to restructure the civil service and die security forces in order to ensure that:

Ø     they are professional, competent and accountable;

Ø     they are representative of society as a whole (including through the application of die principle of affirmative action);

Ø     they serve die interests of democracy; and o the size of these institutions is determined by the objective needs of the country.

In this process it may be necessary to address the question of job security, retrenchment packages and a general amnesty based on disclosure and justice, at some stage, as part of a negotiated setdement. These measures will need to apply to all armed formations and sections of the civil service.

However, the availability of resources and experiences of other countries need to be taken into account.

8.5 It is also necessary to consider odier potential counter-revolutionary forces and find ways of engaging them and their mass base in the national effort to build a democratic society.

8.6 One of die basic guarantees to stability will be die implementation of development programmes to meet die legitimate needs and aspirations of die majority of Soudi Africans. This places a serious responsibility on the ANC to determine priorities and possibilities for democratic socio-economic transformation.

9. Reaching the negotiated settlement

9.1 Elements of the final negotiated setdement would take the form of multi-lateral (CODESA-type) agreements. Other elements of the settlement package would take die form of bilateral agreements between the ANC and the NP - such agreements would bind die two parties.

9.2 The diorny question of the powers, functions and boundaries of regions in a new South Africa may be an issue on which we would enter into bilateral discussion widi the NP and other parties, and seek to reach an understanding which die parties would pursue in the Constituent Assembly.

9.3 The question of a Government of National Unity after the adoption of a new constitution, and the future of members of die security forces and the civil service could be dealt with dirough direct engagement with these forces, as part of a bilateral agreement or in multi-lateral agreements.

25 November 1992

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.