Meeting Between the State President of the Republic of South Africa and the President of the African National Congress Held at the World Trade Centre on the 26 September 1992

1. The attached Record of Understanding was agreed to.

2. On the way forward -


1. 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:

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 so constitutional hiatus. In consideration of this principle, it was further agreed that:

(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, releases 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 on 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 base 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 Commissions' 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 tensions 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:

Agreed to at Johannesburg on 26 September 1992:
F W de Klerk N R Mandela 
State President President: ANC 
26 September 1992


Mr State President, FW de Klerk, and members of your delegation;
Members of the delegation of the African National Congress;
Ladies and gentlemen;

Allow me to express my appreciation that we have finally been able to meet. At the very least, the simple act of our coming together at this level is bound to send a signal of hope among all South Africans. We are duty-bound not to disappoint them.

I would like to congratulate Secretary-General Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister Roelf Meyer and their assistants for their outstanding work in preparation for the Summit. The ultimate accolade, however, goes to the people of South Africa who, in their various ways, have ensured that the issues of peace and democracy remain high on the political agenda.

There were moments when the temptation to despair seemed most attractive. Indeed, the issues would not have been critical, and the urgency to address them not acute, if difficulties did not arise on the way.

Now we have assembled - representatives of the ANC and the government - to seek practical solutions to the most urgent questions facing our country. I take this opportunity to welcome back to our midst the political prisoners who have just been released, and hope that the others will join us soon. This important step, and practical measures to address violence, will help create the climate so necessary for substantive negotiations to resume.

We have come here in the hope that by the time this Summit ends, a firm basis will have been laid for the resumption of negotiations.

This is what all our people want. This is what our economy needs. This is what our country yearns for.

The African National Congress has not come here to claim victories. We have come to earnestly tackle the problems facing our country. We must emerge with a firm resolve to clear the path to a new and democratic order. South Africa must be the winner.

We believe that if negotiations have to succeed, all parties and organisations should be able to strengthen themselves. As difficult as it is, it would be a grave mistake for any organisation to behave in negotiations blinded by sectarian interests.

Certainly, the National Party and the African National Congress are products of specific backgrounds. We must try to regulate the emotions arising from these backgrounds in the interest of our common future.

We have to be pro-active in the face of the current situation and dispassionately address the objective realities of the day.

Recently we have had a spate of massacres like Boipatong and Bisho. We have been blaming each other for these events. It is our duty to ensure that an Interim Government of National Unity is brought about speedily. This will go a long way in addressing many of these problems. I hope that when next we meet, we will be able to agree on dates for elections for a Constituent Assembly and the installation of an Interim Government.

Our economy has been badly damaged. Starvation, lack of jobs, the education crisis, poor services and crime infect our society like the plague. The longer these problems remain unsolved, the more they feed upon themselves to drag the country further down the precipice. And the longer the transition to democracy takes, the more are solutions to these problems postponed.

But to reach that stage, we have to attend to violence and political intolerance with a new determination. All members of our society - including those in the so-called homelands - must enjoy freedom of speech and association. They deserve, without exception, the right to life.

By tackling with serious intent the matters on the Summit's agenda we shall strengthen the National Peace Accord and contribute immensely to national reconciliation.

This Summit has the potential to lay a firm basis for speedy movement towards democracy. The adoption of a constitution to which all South Africans pay allegiance and a government truly representative of all the people are the most important milestones in this process.

My delegation and I will do all in our power to ensure that the Summit succeeds. There is no alternative for South Africa.

Issued by:

The Department of Information and Publicity,
P.O. Box 61884,
Marshalltown 2107,


This summit has taken place at a time when our country is being systematically torn apart by violence. Many have died and continue to die. Free political activity does not exist in many parts of South Africa.

Our people and the world in general looked to this summit with the hope that we have begun today to rescue our people from this chaos. They looked to this summit today with the fervent wish that we can resume the process of negotiation that will take us forward to our final goal of democracy for all South Africans.

In answer to these hopes and expectations, I believe we can say that we have succeeded.

The major concerns addressed at today's summit were the release of political prisoners, steps to curtail violence emanating from hostels and the prohibition of the carrying and display of dangerous weapons.

On the question of political prisoners, this summit today confirmed agreement reached in the past few days. We are happy and indeed jubilant to welcome the 150 of our comrades released today and look forward to the release of all remaining political prisoners by 15 November 1992. We look forward to the release on Monday 28 September of comrades Nondula, Mncube, McBride and Mjingwana.

Significant progress was also reached today with regard to hostels and dangerous weapons. Practical implementation has been agreed upon to ensure that a proclamation will be issued to prohibit the carrying and display of dangerous weapons at all public occasions subject to exemptions based upon guidelines being prepared by the Goldstone Commission. The granting of exemptions shall be entrusted to one or more retired judges designated in each province who if necessary, may be assisted by independent assessors.

On the issue of hostels, the government undertook, amongst other things, to fence identified hostels by 15 November 1992. Interim measures will also be immediately undertaken should there be any delay in this process.

These are important achievements for the whole country and we can be jointly proud of our progress today. However, this does not mean all the causes of violence in our country have been addressed.

The continued denial of free political activity in some bantustans remains a major obstacle and must be addressed.

The government expressed its concern about the our current programme of mass action. The ANC appreciates these concerns. In view of the progress made in this summit and in view of the further progress likely to be made when negotiations resume, the ANC delegation have undertaken in consultation with our structures and constituency, to examine this programme as a matter of urgency.

Finally, with regard to the constitutional process which was aborted in June this year, common understanding has been reached today in the joint Record of Understanding that we need to move with all urgency towards an interim government of national unity and a democratically elected constituent assembly. It is only the achievement of these goals that will finally bring lasting peace to this blood-soaked land. The points of agreement outlined in the Record of Understanding constitute an important step forward toward breaking the Codesa 2 deadlock.

There is obviously still much work to be done to complete this process. To this end, the summit agreed that we and the government need to engage in intensive bilaterals, a lekgotla, to resolve outstanding issues. We will accordingly recommend this to our National Executive Committee.

It is the duty now of all South Africans to ensure that our efforts today and the sacrifices of so many are not in vain. Let us move forward with courage, honesty and determination to build upon and consolidate the basis laid at today's summit to create a peaceful, just and democratic South Africa.

There is no reason why a political settlement should not be achieved within a relatively short period. This will pave the path to peace. This will pave the path to the economic recovery we all yearn for. But we will only achieve this if all parties and all our people, black and white, put South Africa first.

N.R Mandela
26 September, 1992