The meetings on 6 May failed to produce any results. The atmosphere in the Constitutional Assembly was becoming acrimonious. There was no longer evidence of the consensus-seeking mode that had previously characterised much of the process. The parties were playing hardball. Once again, fatigue was a major issue. The negotiators were worn out. In the words of Ray Radue:

You must remember that we had had a week in which we hardly went to bed before three in the morning and we went right through the night twice. In that situation, your body cries out for sleep and tempers become frayed and there’s the pressure of knowing that time was running out. All these factors made the process extremely difficult in those last 48 hours.


then NP member of the Constitutional Assembly


Audio Visual

President Mandela gives his State of the Nation address in Parliament. Mandela ends his address with the words, “Let us all get down to work”.

“We must construct that people-centred society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political and the human rights of all our citizens.”– President Mandela, extract from State of the Nation Address, 24 May 1994

President Nelson Mandela announces his cabinet. It includes members of the African National Congress, National Party and Inkatha Freedom Party.

“There was pride in serving in the first democratic government in South Africa, and then the additional pride of serving under the iconic leadership of Nelson Mandela … [He] represented the hopes of not just our country, but of oppressed, marginalised and the poor in the world.”– Jay Naidoo, then Minister of RDP housing
“We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.”– President Nelson Mandela, 10 May 1994