The Structure of CODESA

A Management Committee, with one delegate and one advisor from each of the parties, and chaired by Pravin Gordhan, oversaw the process. It was assisted by a Daily Management Committee and a Secretariat. The Daily Management Committee’s members were: Dr Zach de Beer (DP); Peter Hendrickse (Labour Party); Frank Mdladlose (IFP); Selby Rapinga (Inyandza); Roelf Meyer (NP); Zamindlela Titus (Transkei); and Jacob Zuma (ANC). Mac Maharaj from the ANC and Fanie van der Merwe from the NP and the director general of Constitutional Development Services, headed the Secretariat. Van der Merwe was later replaced by Niël Barnard.

The Management Committee had the Herculean task of keeping 19 political parties happy while driving the process forward. It set up five working groups to produce agreements for presentation to a plenary by the end of March 1992. Each group consisted of two delegates and two advisors from each of the 19 parties, as well as Chairperson(s) appointed on a rotational basis.

  • Working Group 1 concentrated on the creation of a climate for free and fair elections, including access to the media, control of the security forces, and the like.
  • Working Group 2 was charged with drawing up constitutional principles as well as guidelines for a constitution-making body.
  • Working Group 3 had the task of considering and investigating transitional mechanisms, i.e. an interim/transitional government.
  • Working Group 4 had the task of looking at the future of the so-called TBVC states [Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei] and their inclusion in future South Africa.
  • Working Group 5 had the mandate to look at process and time frames.

The working groups began their work on 20 January 1992 and met twice a week. Each group consisted of almost eighty people. Working Groups 1 to 4 reached agreements by “sufficient consensus” to be ratified by the Management Committee and the CODESA Plenary. Working Group 5 was left to consider how and when implementation of agreements should occur.

In addition to the working groups, a Gender Advisory Committee was established in April 1992 to advise the Management Committee on gender issues. Its members included Sandra Botha, Gill Noero, Janine Quince, Zo Kota-Mthimunye, Fiona Wallace and Mavivi Manzini.

The CODESA Administration was headed by Murphy Morobe who was assisted by Dr Theuns Eloff and staff consisting of civil servants from the Department of Constitutional Development and the Consultative Business Movement.


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