Powersharing Transitional Government: Interim Constitution Accord

"Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 4, Section 36 Constitution of Parliament:

Parliament shall consist of the National Assembly and the Senate.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 4, Section 37 Legislative authority of Republic:

The legislative authority of the Republic shall, subject to this Constitution, vest in Parliament, which shall have the power to make laws for the Republic in accordance with this Constitution.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 4, Section 38 Duration of Parliament:

(1) Parliament as constituted in terms of the first election under this Constitution shall, subject to Subsection (2), continue for five years as from the date of the first sitting of the National Assembly under this Constitution.

(2) If during the period referred to in Subsection (1) Parliament is dissolved under Section 73 (9) or 93 (1) or (3)(c), the Houses of Parliament as constituted then, shall continue for the period up to the day immediately preceding the commencement of polling for the election of the National Assembly held in pursuance of such dissolution.

(3) Notwithstanding any dissolution of Parliament:

(a) every person who at the date of the dissolution is a member of the National Assembly or the Senate shall remain a member thereof;

(b) the National Assembly and the Senate shall remain competent to perform their functions; and

(c) the President shall be competent to summon Parliament by proclamation in the Gazette to an extraordinary sitting for the despatch of urgent business, during the period for which the Houses of Parliament continue in terms of Subsection (2) after the dissolution.

(4) If Parliament is dissolved and a new Parliament is constituted as contemplated in Section 39, this section shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of such new Parliament save that the new Parliament shall continue for the unexpired part of the period referred to in Subsection (1).

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 4, Section 84 Executive Deputy Presidents:

(1) Every party holding at least 80 seats in the National Assembly shall be entitled to designate an Executive Deputy President from among the members of the National Assembly.

(2) Should no party or only one party hold 80 or more seats in the National Assembly, the party holding the largest number of seats and the party holding the second largest number of seats shall each be entitled to designate one Executive Deputy President from among the members of the National Assembly.

(3) On being designated as such, an Executive Deputy President may elect to vacate or not to vacate his or her seat in the National Assembly.

(4) Section 81 shall apply mutatis mutandis to an Executive Deputy President.

(5) An Executive Deputy President may exercise the powers and shall perform the functions vested in the office of Executive Deputy President by this Constitution or assigned to him or her by the President.

(6) An Executive Deputy President shall, before formally assuming office, make and subscribe an oath or solemn affirmation in the terms set out in Schedule 3 before the Chief

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 4, Section 89 Cabinet procedure:

(1) Meetings of the Cabinet shall be presided over by the President, or, if the President so instructs, by an Executive Deputy President: Provided that the Executive Deputy Presidents shall preside over meetings of the Cabinet in turn unless the exigencies of government and the spirit underlying the concept of a government of national unity otherwise dictate.

(2) The Cabinet shall function in a manner which gives consideration to the consensus-seeking spirit underlying the concept of a government of national unity as well as the need for effective government.

(3) Where an Executive Deputy President presides over a meeting of the Cabinet otherwise than in the capacity of Acting President, a decision in the Cabinet on any matter shall be submitted to the President before its implementation and shall upon its ratification by the President be deemed to be a decision taken in consultation with the Cabinet in accordance with section 82 (3)."

Implementation History

1993

No Implementation

After signing the main peace accord, on December 23, 1991, South African President De Klerk proposed immediate negotiations on the interim government. The proposal was consistent with the ANC demand for an interim government.1 However, other political parties perceived the formation of the interim government as the ANC’s strategy to gain access to more power than it had gained through consensus.2

On February 11, 1992, the ANC proposed that an interim government council with legislative and executive powers be appointed by CODESA to oversee the transitional period. The ANC proposed two possibilities:
''Either the interim government council continues to function in the agreed manner until the constituent assembly has completed its work and a new parliament is in place, or the constituent assembly is vested with sovereign powers so that it functions both as a constituent assembly and as a legislature until the new constitution has been adopted.'' In its proposal, the ANC was concerned that the constituent assembly should not be diverted from or in any way hindered in achieving its primary purpose, which was to adopt a new constitution.3 The Government of National Unity did not materialize in 1992.

“The State President, Mr F.W. de Klerk, said on Thursday (29th April, 1993) he would not abdicate and would hand over power only to a government of national unity after a general election."4

  • 1. "South Africa De Klerk proposes negotiations ''immediately'' on interim government," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, December 23, 1991.
  • 2. "SOUTH AFRICA IN BRIEF; HNP leader tells De Klerk interim government would mean ANC Rule," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, January 11, 1992.
  • 3. "SOUTH AFRICA ANC MAKES PROPOSALS ON INTERIM GOVERNMENT; CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, February 13, 1992.
  • 4. "SOUTH AFRICA; President de Klerk will only hand over power to government of national unity," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, May 1, 1993.
1994

Full Implementation

The election for the constituent assembly took place in April 1994. The Government of National Unity, a constitutionally defined multi-party government, came into existence on 27 April 1994, after the 1994 elections. The 1993 constitution had provisions for the government of national unity. A party holding 20 or more seats in the parliament was entitled to receive one or more of the cabinet portfolios. Six ministers from the National Party were appointed in the cabinet, including former State President Mr. de Klerk, who was appointed as second Deputy President.5 The Inkatha Freedom Party also shared the cabinet portfolio.

  • 5. "A look at those who also serve in Mandela's South Africa," The Age (Melbourne, Australia), May 14, 1994.
1995

Full Implementation

Power-sharing continued under the National Unity Government provisions of the 1993 interim constitution. It was expected to last until 1999.

1996

Full Implementation

Power-sharing continued under the National Unity Government provisions of the 1993 interim constitution. It was expected to last until 1999. Nevertheless, once the National Assembly adopted the final constitution on May 8, 1996, the National Party announced its withdraw from the government of national unity by the end of June 1996.6 The the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Azanian People's Organisation hold seats in the government.

Power-sharing under the National Unity Government provisions of the 1993 interim constitution ended in 1996.

  • 6. "South Africa," Keesing's Record of World Events (formerly Keesing's Contemporary Archives) (Volume 42), 1996, 41078.
1997

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1998

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1999

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.