The drafting of the Interim Constitution

Relying on political leadership to come to political agreements was only one part of the challenge. It was quite another thing to have the lawyers creatively articulate these into legally acceptable formulations. The ANC relied on several experts, one of whom was Arthur Chaskalson. Arthur very quickly stood out for the masterful manner in which he was able to construct constitutional solutions. His crisp understanding of the issues and sharp legal mind allowed him to craft some very precise legal and constitutional proposals.

That Christmas of 1993, the dreaded South Easter came with more than the usual amount of rain and strong relentless winds. Despite this, I was spellbound by the amazing work done by Arthur Chaskalson and Zam Titus who prepared the final legal text. This paved the way to the establishment of the Transitional Executive Council, which was to oversee the run-up to the first democratic election scheduled for 27 April 1994. The ANC’s Negotiations Commission had effectively completed its mandate.

Hassen Ebrahim

then National Coordinator of the ANC’s Negotiation Commission


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