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Archive of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA)

  • ZA CHT COD
  • Fonds
  • 1991 - 1992

CODESA formed part of a multi-party negotiating process to end apartheid in South Africa and establish a transitional government and constitution. During the Preparatory Meeting between 29 and 30 November 1991, it was decided that the process would be convened under the title Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA).

During 1991 and 1992 CODESA convened two plenary sessions, CODESA 1 and CODESA 2.  Agreements which had been negotiated during task and working group discussions were then debated and ratified by the plenaries as the broader representative body.

Negotiations reached a deadlock during CODESA 2 and were suspended. Materials produced after CODESA 2 are referred to as Post-CODESA 2.

During the Preparatory Meeting, three task groups were created to facilitate planning and formulate an agenda and aims. During the first plenary session of CODESA 1, five working groups were established, each with their own terms of reference and specific tasks related to the agenda and aims of CODESA. 

Between plenary sessions, the working groups met and negotiated frequently. During the second plenary session, working groups delivered their reports on their recommendations and agreements. 

A lack of consensus during CODESA 2,  centred on two major issues - interim government and constitutional principles - this resulted in a deadlock and formal meetings and negotiations were suspended by the end of June 1992. 

The series CODESA 1 contains all meetings preparatory to CODESA 1 ( 20 to 21 December 1991) and the associated plenary documents.

The series CODESA 2 contains all meetings post CODESA 1 and preparatory to CODESA 2 (15 to 16 May 1992) and the associated plenary documents.

The series Post CODESA 2 contains all materials created between 17 May 1992 and June 1992.

The series Annexure A: Various CODESA Records contains transcripts of plenary proceedings, terms of reference for working groups, and ephemera from CODESA plenaries.

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development