South African’s National Liberation Movement

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CODESA: Declaration of Intent

20 December 1991

We, the duly authorised representatives of political parties, political
organizations, administrations and the South African Government, coming together at this
first meeting of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, mindful of the awesome
responsibility that rests on us at this moment in the history of our country,

declare our solemn commitment:

to bring about an undivided South Africa
with one nation sharing a common citizenship, patriotism and loyalty, pursuing amidst our
diversity, freedom, equality and security for all irrespective of race, colour, sex or
creed; a country free from apartheid or any other form of discrimination or domination;

to work to heal the divisions of the past,
to secure the advancement of all, and to establish a free and open society based on
democratic values where the dignity, worth and rights of every South African are protected
by law;

to strive to improve the quality of life of
our people through policies that will promote economic growth and human development and
ensure equal opportunities and social justice for all South Africans;

to create a climate conducive to peaceful
constitutional change by eliminating violence, intimidation and destabilization and by
promoting free political participation, discussion and debate;

to set in motion the process of drawing up
and establishing a constitution that will ensure, inter alia:

  1. that South Africa will be a united, democratic, non-racial and
    non-sexist state in which sovereign authority is exercised over the whole of its
  2. that the Constitution will be the supreme law and that it will
    be guarded over by an independent, non-racial and impartial judiciary;
  3. that there will be a multi-party democracy with the right to
    form and join political parties and with regular elections on the basis of universal adult
    suffrage on a common voters roll; in general the basic electoral system shall be that of
    proportional representation;
  4. that there shall be a separation of powers between the
    legislature, executive and judiciary with appropriate checks and balances;
  5. that the diversity of languages, cultures and religions of the
    people of South Africa shall be acknowledged;
  6. that all shall enjoy universally accepted human rights,
    freedoms and civil liberties including freedom of religion, speech and assembly protected
    by an entrenched and justiciable Bill of Rights and a legal system that guarantees
    equality of all before the law.

We agree:

  1. that the present and future participants shall be entitled to
    put forward freely to the Convention any proposal consistent with democracy.
  2. that CODESA will establish a mechanism whose task it will be,
    in co-operation with administrations and the South African Government, to draft the texts
    of all legislation required to give effect to the agreements reached in CODESA.

We, the representatives of political parties, political
organizations and administrations, further solemnly commit ourselves to be bound by the
agreements of CODESA and in good faith to take all such steps as are within our power and
authority to realise their implementation.

Signed by

Ciskei Government

Democratic Party

Dikwankwetla Party

Inkatha Freedom Party

African National Congress

Bophuthatswana Government

Inyandza National Movement

Intando Yesizwe Party

Labour Party of South Africa

Natal/Tvl Indian Congress

National Party

National People’s Party


South African Communist Party

Transkei Government

United People’s Front

Venda Government

Ximoko Progressive Party

We, the South African Government, declare ourselves to be
bound by agreements we reach together with other participants in CODESA in accordance with
the standing rules and hereby commit ourselves to the Implementation thereof within our
capacity, powers and authority.

Signed by

South African Government’

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika.

Ons vir jou Suid Afrika.

Morena boloka sechaba sa heso.

May the Lord bless our country.

Mudzimu Fhatutshedza Afrika.

Hosi katekisa Afrika.